If you want to ride the technology wave at CCA, you have to follow the rules
By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
OXFORD– Students at the Clear Creek Amana middle school in Tiffin will be offered the use of a Chromebook computer starting with the new school year. However, there will be a number of policies and procedures in place for the students to accompany the new devices.
Middle School Principal Brad Fox gave a brief overview for the board at its regular meeting Wednesday, July 23, at Clear Creek Elementary in Oxford. Students will be issued Chromebooks, charging cords and protective carrying cases, but only after they and their parents or guardians attend a “roll-out night” and sign a user agreement.
Three sessions were scheduled this week. For those unable to attend, parents or guardians can make arrangements to meet with Fox or Mr. Bandy for the orientation to cover dos and don’ts for caring for the device, appropriate vs. inappropriate usage, student expectations and repairs. A flat $25 fee will apply for the first repair made to the device, but Fox said the district will be flexible with families who experience financial hardships. The policy is aimed to deter misuse and/or willful destruction, or, gross negligence, said superintendent Tim Kuehl. Repairing a malfunction of the device itself would not incur a charge, but a repair required due to damaging actions would.
Fox said the policies were teacher generated, and they had looked at policies already in use elsewhere with the goal to keep things simple.
The district purchased 500 devices, an Acer C720-2844 equipped with USB ports, microphone/headphone jack, SD slot for additional memory and a HDMI slot. The devices do not have a CD/DVD drive and will not run any web browser other than Chrome. No programs such as Word are on the devices as they connect to Google Drive and Google Apps for word processing, spreadsheets and video/presentation programs. No software updates will be necessary, as the devices update automatically.
The district’s technology department will install filtering and monitoring programs. One such program allows a teacher to see what is being viewed on each device in the classroom, deterring students from surfing the web when they should be looking at a particular lesson.
The intent is for each student to use the same device throughout his or her time in middle school. Eighth-graders will return their machines upon graduation next spring while sixth-graders can expect to keep theirs for the full three school years. Fox said having such ownership typically leads to students taking better care of the computers.
A pilot 1:1 program will be initiated in the high school starting this fall, with full implementation anticipated for the 2015-2016 school year.