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Published: Monday, 3/3/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Students go digital with ease

Bedford pleased with new Chromebooks

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sixth-grade teacher Jason Eaton helps Gabe Jan, 11, use his new Chromebook. Sixth-grade teacher Jason Eaton helps Gabe Jan, 11, use his new Chromebook.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

TEMPERANCE — Bedford Junior High School’s sixth graders are in the cloud — cloud computing, that is.

The youngsters have taken, in a big way, to the Chromebooks the district distributed in January, saying they find them fun and conducive to learning.

The Chromebook distribution was phase 1 of the One to One Learning Initiative, which aims to position the Bedford Public Schools for the digital age and the eventual phase-out of printed textbooks.

The district purchased 418 Chromebooks at a cost of $123,882.66 and made sixth graders the first recipients. Next school year, fifth and seventh graders will get Chromebooks. By 2017-18, all students in grades three through 12 will have them, said Edward Manuszak, the district’s assistant superintendent of instructional and student services.

The Acer C710s, which use the Google Chrome operating system and Wi-Fi, have a 16-gigabyte solid-state drive and an 11-inch screen. The school system’s purchase price also included cases and a management license. Funds came from Bedford’s share of the Monroe County school technology levy.

So far, there have been no serious glitches with the rollout, although last month the district’s computers fell victim to a virus attack admitted to by a student, who was turned over to authorities.

For Samantha Hoogendoorn, going digital has been a breeze. During an English class last week, she was looking at an online book preview that included a video and highlights of a novel.

“It’s supposed to hook you into reading the book,” the 11-year-old said. “I like the Chromebook a lot. I take it home and charge it at night.”

Haven Linzie, a classmate, said using the Chromebook has helped her “learn about technology.” Haven, 12, said she liked being able to pull up instantly a photo of something that comes up in class.

Teachers Jason Eaton and Gwen Dusa called the Chromebooks a valuable teaching tool.

Using Google Docs, Mr. Eaton said, “I can follow the students’ progress on a writing assignment and make notes as they work. For writing, that makes a huge difference.” He also uses a Web site to send assignments to his classes.

Ms. Dusa, who teaches math, said the Chromebooks are better for some subjects, such as writing, than others, but that she uses it for math.

The district has lost 13 days to this winter to the weather. In future years, “we can assign homework when there are snow days. It’s being explored,” Mr. Manuszak said.



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