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Students receive first round of Chromebooks

20140131 Chromebooks-1 featureMISSION— Zayda J. Martinez, a freshman at Mission Collegiate High School, grabbed a Google Chromebook box labeled with her name in delight.

Martinez’s fellow classmates also grabbed brand-new laptops and settled in with their parents to analyze their new educational tools.

On Jan. 23, during a report card night, the Google Chromebooks were distributed in part with the Mission CISD 1 to 1 Technology Pilot Project, which was approved in May 2013.

The MCISD Board approved a purchase of an estimated 1,500 Google Chromebooks that will be received by all freshmen students and sixth graders from K. White Jr. High. The purchase totaled to $462,150.

“All the students look like they are walking out of a candy store,” MCHS Principal Orlando Farias said. “There are 225 laptops that will be distributed in total, including laptops for staff.”

The project was created for students to take advantage of the laptop for note taking, completing assignments and using digital textbooks.

Farias said teachers were trained first on how to use the devices and already had content available for access on the day of the distribution.

“Teachers use smart boards, a lot of interactive activity with power points,” Farias said. “Now all of that content will be pushed up into the “cloud” and students will be able to see that at home.”

The Google Chromebook is a device based off of the Google’s “cloud” operating system, which allows students to access documents anywhere at any time.

Farias said the goal is to eventually record models and classroom examples that students can access from home, which will also keep students on top of assignments if they are absent.

Diamond Tijerina, MCHS English teacher, said staff saves paper and has a more efficient way of channeling curriculum directly to the students if they don’t quite understand a lesson.

“I’m looking into recording lessons and upload it. If they (students) still don’t know how to write…let’s say an introduction,” Tijerina said. “Then, I can upload something that they can see. What’s great is students can no longer give excuses that they don’t have their homework because everything is saved on the ‘cloud.’”

Both parents and students received guidelines on the proper use of the laptop and its capabilities.

Martinez’s mother, Lori, said she was happy to know the students would be limited to learning use, and not able to access sites that are not related to education. Teachers can also monitor when students have logged on and any information, quizzes or videos have been viewed.

“Technology—you’ve got to move with it because the kids will advance and then your classroom becomes boring,” Tijerina said. “We need to update too because if not we become obsolete.”

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