Heather Welt, center, works on a Chromebook during a meeting hosted by the Sylvania School Parent Association at Southview High School.
Parents were introduced to the cloud during a computer learning session that familiarized them with Sylvania Schools' Digital Learning Initiative.
Southview High School’s common area was transformed into a giant computer lab as about 300 parents sat in front of the district's new teaching tool, the Chromebook.
The lightweight laptops that almost instantaneously connect to the Internet will be used for one-to-one learning instruction, officials told the group. Parents were invited to the school today for a two-hour basic training in Google Documents and the Chromebook.
The district purchased 1,600 laptops this year for $600,000. That is about 20 percent of the total need. The district will continue to purchase the computers, which cost $279 each, in increments of 20 percent until each student has one. There are about 7,800 students district-wide.
Sylvania curriculum director Adam Fineske, left, and technology director Cheryl O'Shea, right, introduce a meeting on the district's Digital Learning Initiative.
When parents entered the mock lab the screen was set up with a guest log-in that led to a parent folder. Inside was the night’s agenda, a presentation, and other documents that described how Chromebooks will be used.
McCord Junior High School English teacher Alex Clarkson told parents all student assignments are now saved on the cloud through Google Drive.
“Students accessed instruction lectures and assignments during the past snow days,” he said.
Michele Henson, a teacher at Highland Elementary School, said students can no longer use the excuse that their dog ate their homework, or nowadays the new expression, the dog ate my flash drive, as each assignment is automatically saved on Google Drive.
They told parents that using Google Documents students and parents can log into the virtual application using any device, all that’s needed is the Internet. That means students can also collaborate on projects from different locations. For now students in the district are sharing the computers. Once there is enough for one-to-one instruction each student may bring one home, officials said.
Parent Heather Welt said her daughters already have mobile devices and computers at home, so they could easily access the site.
“This is awesome. I think it will help kids learn how to do presentations,” she said.
Google offers word processing, presentation, and a spreadsheet documents on Google Drive.
“A project started at school can now be finished at home,” the teachers said. Moreover, they explained they can use the application to tailor reading or math assignments to a student’s learning level.
Parent Hikmat Aburahmeh said the application was simple.
“If we can access what they do at school - phenomenal,” he said. He said he often does not know what assignments his daughter Mia, a third-grade student at Hill View Elementary School, is working on, but this will allow him to view her coursework.
The district has PowerSchool, an intranet site that tracks student progress and assignments. However, at this time it is only offered to grades 6 through 12.
Other digital initiatives include placing the school board agendas online for real time updates.