The Chromebook is becoming one of the most popular devices for education across the country. The device provides the features needed for personal productivity, is easy to maintain and manage, and is fully integrated with the Google Suite for Education. As a district that has adopted Google education products and services, this makes the device well suited for RSU1.
RSU1 began testing Chromebooks approximately three years ago when the Morse Science Department ran into compatibility issues with the iPad when performing some functions. That pilot with the Morse Science Department was expanded to include the Morse Yearbook class, additional Chromebooks to be signed out from the library, Chromebooks labs in elementary schools, and Chromebooks for some staff. Since those first steps, RSU1 has added Chromebooks across all grades, including 1:1 Chromebooks for the 6th grade. We now have nearly 500 of them in our district.
While an excellent device, we recognize that the Chromebook has limitations, especially when projects require more powerful computing tools. For this reason, RSU1 will be moving towards a blended environment. We will have Chromebooks available for personal productivity (Google Classroom, word processing, spreadsheets, slide, research, collaboration, communication, etc.), and other resources such as iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, and Windows computers to perform specific tasks for which the Chromebook is not well suited. This approach will provide our students and staff with resources to meet their needs, at a cost that is responsible.
For those unfamiliar with the Chromebook, they are simple, cost-effective computers that utilize primarily web hosted services to perform functions, such as word processing, research, and presentations. Chromebooks run an operating system called, ChromeOS, and will soon be incorporating elements of the Android OS, which is used on smartphones and tablets. This new functionality will include the ability to run apps from the Google Play Store.