Montgomery County Public Schools has begun the distribution of Chromebooks and tablets in classrooms. The first part of the MCPS Technology Initiative has begun with Chromebooks being placed in third grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, and high school social studies classes. MCPS has bought 40,000 new laptops and tablets for students to utilize.
Students in kindergarten through second grade received Android tablets, while third through twelfth grades will be receiving Chromebooks.
The MCPS Strategic Technology Plan’s main goal is to create 21st century learning spaces for students by making the transition to a more online-based classroom. This will be achieved through programs such as Google Classroom, and eventually myMCPS. Google Classroom allows students to access all documents from class through Google Drive, connected to all of the students’ Gmail accounts. The applications available include Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Slides, and other Google software through Google Classroom.
Students will be able to use technology in and out of school thanks to the portability of Google Classroom. Google software is available on Google Play and the App Store, which are featured on Android and Apple phones respectively. Since Google Drive updates by the minute, the information and documents given by a teacher can be seen and revised instantaneously.
However, the recent technology addition has not come cheap. The money has come out of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Operating Budget and government subsidies, costing fifteen million dollars overall.
One student who is in favor of Chromebooks in the classroom is Lindsay Hutton. “Chromebooks really make a difference in the classroom. Chromebooks make classwork and homework easier to do and turn in because teachers and students no longer have to deal with lots of paper,” argues the Winston Churchill HS student.
Opponents of Chromebooks and new technology are worried about budget constraints, and how the money might be better spent elsewhere.
“I think…that money can be spent on other things. I understand the technology factor, but I am an old-fashioned type of person. I prefer pen and paper notes. I am not completely against Chromebooks, but I think there could have been a better use for the money,” says Isabelle Zhou, a student at Richard Montgomery HS.
Regardless of your thoughts on them, Chromebooks are coming to your school in the near future. This major county initiative will provide new technology to over 67 schools and looks to be already dividing opinion.
If your school has not yet received Chromebooks, you can view the rollout here:
Article by the MoCo Student Staff Writer Iman Durrani of Churchill High School
Image provided by courtesy of bgr.com