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School handbooks include Chromebook rules
new slt more school-chromebooks
A Park Elementary student in Eric Dowson's sixth-grade reading class does an assignment using a Chromebook from the school's Chromebook cart. This fall, students in grades 7-12 will be part of the new 1-to-1 Chromebook Initiative. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Great Bend schools will have new policies to reflect the “1-to-1 Chromebook Initiative” being implemented this fall at USD 428.
“Every student in grades 9-12 will be issued a Chromebook,” said Khris Thexton, assistant superintendent and director of business and operations. Those students will use their Chromebooks at school and take them home at night. Students in grades 7-8 will be issued devices that will stay at the school. Sixteen Chromebook carts were purchased for that purpose Tuesday, when the board approved the low bid of $20,288 from CDW.
A Chromebook is a small personal computer that runs Google Chrome as its operating system. It is designed to be used primarily on the Internet and supports applications like Google Docs that reside on the Web, rather than traditional PC applications like Microsoft Office and Photoshop that reside on the machine itself.
This, along with rules of use and ownership, is explained on the Chromebook Handbook being developed. Thexton showed the handbook to the school board last Tuesday and will ask for official board approval in April.
Once the 1-to-1 initiative is launched, the district will need to spell out rules for everything from Internet etiquette and safe use to replacing lost or damaged pieces. For example, the proposed handbook notes that the device “is an educational tool not intended for gaming, social networking or high end computing.”
The book includes tips for the proper care of the device, and warns it is school property. “Failure to turn in a Chromebook will result in the student being charged the full $249 replacement cost. Additionally, a report of stolen property with the local law enforcement agency will be filed by the district.”
Although the handbook covers several topics, Thexton said it is evolving.
“We’re going to have growing pains with it,” he said. Assistant superintendent John Popp and Technology Director Ryan Axman, along with the district’s technology committee, helped write the handbook after visiting with other districts that issue electronic devices to students.
The Chromebooks will be subject to the federal Child Internet Protection Act and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act. This means there will be filters on the devices at all times, even when they are off the school grounds, Thexton said.
Teachers are eager to get this technology in students’ hands, and said students often prefer doing homework online to printed worksheets.
Examples of how wireless devices can be used were shared Tuesday, when the school board heard teachers’ recommendations for the next textbook and curriculum adoptions.
GBHS math instructor Karen Maier and GBMS math instructor Carley Wells explained the recommendation for the next math purchase, replacing textbooks purchased in 2007.
Maier said the text 7-12 math books published by Pearson are available in print and online versions that can be used with Chromebooks. Students can also have access to the online MathXL tutor.
“Students can always have access to example problems that are worked out for them,” Maier said.
Likewise, world language teachers presented their proposal for the next Spanish and German textbooks. The materials include a mobile app to help with pronunciation.