When students return to school in late August, new Chrome Books will be waiting for them. As part of a 1:1 Technology Initiative, students in grades three through six will be using the computers on a daily basis.
“The goal is to get a Chrome Book to every student. This will allow teachers and students to communicate better with each other,” Schools’ IT Director Matt Ullring explains. Ullring joined Orange Schools as Director of Technology on July 1, from East Haven Public Schools where he was a senior technology specialist. He replaced former IT Director Matthew Bruder who left the district in June.
The Board of Education budgeted $67,000 to lease 670 laptops in the 2016-17 school year. Each student will be responsible for his or her own laptop. For now, Ullring said, the computers will stay in school and students will access Google Classroom from their own home computers and devices.
As part of a larger technology initiative, teachers are incorporating Google Apps into their day-to-day teaching. “Teachers are getting Google certified to use Google Chrome, Chrome Books and all things Google,” Ullring says. “The change will fall in with the curriculum across the subjects.”
Ullring was instrumental in instituting a similar program in East Haven Schools. He says there is a great deal of potential, not only in academics, but the Google applications and computers will be helpful when it comes time for SBAC testing and also in helping with communication between students and teachers. “Teachers will be posting assignments and other information in Google Classroom that students can access from anywhere,” Ullring said.
Since these Chrome Books are made specifically for schools, they contain an additional layer of safety that allows administrators to perform better internet filtering when students use them. From a student’s perspective, the computers are easy to use with documents automatically saving in the Google Classroom and accessible outside of school as well. From a teacher’s perspective, the switch to Chrome Books will save the district money, according to Ullring. “Instead of saving data to servicers, it’s saved to online accounts through SSL encrypted security with password protection.”
He and his four other IT team members are working through the summer getting the new computers set up for students as part of his first month at the job. “I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to contribute the experience that I have,” he said.
By Melissa Nicefaro