North Penn School District rolls out equitable Chromebook technology program for students and the community
NPSD wanted to create a comprehensive plan for the direction of instructional technology and
platforms to meet their goal of equity and access to all students.
Chromebook deployment with Trox and Acer, a website discussing goals and frequently asked
questions of the 1:1 initiative and digital learning, North Penn Family Tech Support, and Google trainings for
Trox and Acer provided a comprehensive 1:1 plan – one which is easy to use for teachers and
students while easy to manage for technology directors in a large school district.
North Penn School District consists of 13 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 1 high school and 1 alternative education school. NPSD employs approximately 2,000 staff members with 13,000 students in attendance. With technology at the forefront, the School District believes providing a 1:1 learning environment will transform teaching and learning, preparing students for working and living in a digital world.
NPSD formed the Digital Age Learning and Work Collaborative – a group of administrators, teacher and support staff that came together to talk about their concerns, past practices, goals and their current technology. Here they began to formulate the ideas of the direction they wanted to take.
With a 3 year goal of creating equity and access to digital tools for all students, Dr. Kristen Landis, Director of Technology felt it was critical to pick a technology that was easy to use and manage for a district this size.
Dr. Landis and her team considered all types of devices, including laptops and narrowed down the choices to Chromebooks, based on the price point and ease-of-use with the Google portal. Once they decided they were going with Google, it made the decision to choose Chromebooks easy.
Having implemented Google before, the team had to consider the number of people they would manage with a district as large as North Penn. They previously did not have a consistent platform throughout the district. Touch devices were their choice of technology. They chose a device that would work well with the Chrome Web Store and the apps within the store because they wanted to make a 4 year investment for the students.
The Acer Chromebook C738T rose to the top for many reasons:
- It was the fastest machine they found.
- It was one of three machines that would be first to access the web and the app store.
- Acer allows North Penn to have every person become an in-house certified warranty repair person for tech support, representing a huge expense reduction and cost-effectiveness.
- The support Acer provides and the durability of the device were important “must-haves” for their device of choice.
Contributing factors to the success of the North Penn 1:1 initiative includes:
Number of devices – They will have a total of 8,400 devices for students and staff across 6th thru 12th grade by end of year 2017.
Three classrooms are piloting Chromebooks, replacing the current iPads at the 2nd grade level.
Teachers have given a commitment to use Google Classroom in some way, shape or form if they have a 1:1 classroom.
Resulting improvements – They continue to increase the amount of documents created and used, by approximately 100% every 6 months.
There has been an increase from 38% to 72%, year over year, of students reporting use of collaboration tools in the classroom, leading to the learning of 21st century skills.
Additional Support – NPSD launched a website discussing goals and frequently asked questions of the 1:1 initiative and digital learning.
They implemented the North Penn Family Tech Support for parents.
Google trainings for parents were implemented in a simulated mini-classroom with Chromebooks to experience what their kids are experiencing and help them understand the initiative better.