Portland’s Chromebook Initiative a Smart Move
Congratulations to the Portland School District for making the wise decision to purchase Chromebooks for their middle and high school students. Even more impressive is providing each student with a laptop for use during the school day. Hopefully, in time, students will be allowed to take them home where they can continue with school assignments. To some, this may seem extravagant and expensive. However, the program has the potential to do away with expensive textbooks, which can cost up to $100 each. Textbooks wear out, can get lost, and become outdated. Instructional resources provided via the internet to all Chromebooks are free to low cost and easily updated when needed. Chromebooks are long lasting, virus resistant, include all the apps (software) a student will ever need, have long battery life, and unlike more expensive tablets, have a keyboard. They are inexpensive with prices falling in the $150-$350 range.
Any technology program will require a well planned, professional development program where teachers are trained in the proper integration of technology into the school curriculum. Training should be ongoing and not a one day experience. Ideally, training should precede the distribution of laptops to students.