Nearly 3,000 Chromebooks are on their way to Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 this summer after the Board of Education approved the purchase that will provide one-to-one personal learning devices for students at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School starting in the 2016-17 school year.
Using funding provided by the Vision One91 referendum approved by voters in 2015, the District will purchase 2,850 Chromebooks from Best Buy Education, along with management licenses for all the devices and support in preparing them for student use. The total cost of $865,000 was below what was originally expected, according to Lisa Rider, director of business services.
Chromebooks are lightweight, inexpensive devices that will provide students access to the internet, their Google accounts and other web-based applications. The model being purchased includes a touch-screen along with a keyboard so it also acts as a tablet.
“Ensuring each of our high school students has a Chromebook ensures that they have access to high-quality resources and information that support their learning,” said Instructional Technology Coordinator Rachel Gorton. “It provides a powerful tool to write and research, as well as the ability to create and share multimedia presentations and projects.”
The Chromebooks are the most visible piece of a comprehensive technology plan being put in place as part of Vision One91, the work to redesign the district to meet the needs of today’s learners. Last year, a new online learning management system – Schoology – was launched, providing a central hub where teachers and students can create, access and share information about classes. Another major component of the technology plan will be adaptive digital reading and math programs that provide curricular resources that adjust to students’ abilities.
“This purchase is just one piece of the referendum that the community approved,” said Ron Hill, member of the District 191 Board of Education. “We’re looking forward to the benefits that this will bring to our students.”
During the 2015-16 school year, Chromebooks were used in combination with Schoology in all District 191 secondary social studies classrooms as a pilot program before a commitment was made to purchase devices for all high school students. In 2017-18, the one-to-one student device program will expand to include all students in grades 6-8. After that, devices will be expanded into elementary schools.