Secondary students in the Sumner School District are about to get 21st century upgrades to their education.
In 2014, voters in Sumner passed a tech levy to help purchase Chromebooks for all secondary students to utilize during the school year, at home and at school. Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, each student will be issued a Chromebook to use through the entire school year.
Chromebooks are a web-based device, similar to a laptop. The Chromebook reduces technical issues that arise with regular laptops, saving the student’s work automatically to the cloud. The Chromebook’s battery life is usually enough to last the student the entire school day. Chromebooks were selected over tablets because of their durability.
“Students will be issued their Chromebooks just like a textbook,” said Michelle Lewis, instructional services coordinator. “They’ll be able to take it home every night and bring it back to school fully charged and ready to go.”
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Lewis says the Chromebooks cost just as much as a new textbook, but will have access to multiple e-textbooks, educational videos, and tools to register for classes or explore career and technical education opportunities. The Chromebooks will come with a school district Internet filter, where students can’t access websites such as Facebook or other inappropriate websites at home or at school.
Students will undergo training on how to use their school-issued Chromebooks, and the training will include a session on how to become safe online citizens.
“The students will learn how to collaborate and communicate online,” Lewis said. “Students will be able to research using the Internet, and utilize a variety of different tools to think critically and create.”
According to Lewis, the Kent and Edmonds school districts have created similar programs with their technology levy money.
“It’s becoming the norm, but we are ahead of the curve,” she said. “We have the highest ration of (tech) devices to students in the area.”