District tests Chromebook integration

Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, Google Chromebooks will start to make their mark in OHS.

With Proposition R passing in November, the money is now available to provide every student at both OHS and MHS with Thinkpads, the current laptops, but starting in April of 2017, 10 students from the freshmen, sophomore, and junior classes will be selected to test out Chromebooks as a replacement for the laptops. Chromebooks are laptops that function only with internet and are Google-powered. They can provide new possibilities for students and would cost less than the current laptops in use. Both high schools with participate in this integration.

“If that goes well and everything that we want to do is capable of doing, then next year we will look at potentially the freshmen getting Chromebooks then sophomores, juniors, seniors,” Mr. Matt Willett, sophomore principal, said.

There are teachers and students in OHS which make up the Technology Department Heads and they have already begun to experiment with the newfound gadget. They have had meetings multiple times to discuss the pros and cons of the laptops.

“The biggest pro is there they are extremely fast,” Willett said, “the updates are automatic.” Followed by the biggest con being that students will not have access to Microsoft Word and possibly other important applications.

Another thing under consideration is whether or not the Chromebooks will be able to work with the district internet infrastructure.

Willett said, “We have a new firewall coming in, we are doubling broadband capabilities and adding 200 access points.” This would speed the internet up district wide and improve things overall.

Price differences between current laptops and Chromebooks also play a role in the decision-making. The laptops currently in use are close to $520 each while the Chromebooks are between $230 and $350. The savings would be substantial and it would provide more money for other improvements in the district.

One thing is for sure, OHS is planning an upgrade.