Bringing Chromebooks to Island Schools
By Orthwin Simmons, Bequia Community High School
Several teachers were invited to a meeting with personnel from the Grenadines Initiative on October 24th at the Learning Center. The meeting was held to discuss the Chrome Book Program the organization has launched to put Chrome Books in all the island’s schools. The hosts exposed the teachers to the Chrome Book’s features and wanted feedback on its possible inclusion in the teaching and learning processes in our schools
This is a welcomed initiative. I was hooked on book’s light weight and sturdiness. They would survive the usual daily activities and then some from our students and can be moved around quickly and easily without fear of damage from simple mishaps (unlike the others we had). The all black design and limited openings (ports) along with the sturdy hinges limit dust and water damage and screen separation. The speakers are audible from a good distance and it boots up pretty quickly and runs quite smoothly.
There is no internal storage and while some may see this as a negative, I see it as a plus. There is plenty of free standalone cloud storage, plus those that come with emails, and students can always purchase a portable drive. Having no memory extends their shelf life and students learn to manipulate online resources more efficiently.
A significant benefit is the access it gives to free online resources and the tech skills students can develop while interacting with the Chrome Book. I am particularly pleased because by getting the Chrome Books into the primary schools, students are exposed at an earlier age to technology as a learning resource and possibilities while they are at their more curious, imaginative stage of development. It provides the opportunity to teach our students to become manipulators of technology and not mere users. Additionally, with earlier exposure comes greater success in Information technology at the secondary and tertiary levels.
The greatest impact for me would be the assistance and access it would provide to online resources which can help teachers target and reduce the literacy/numeracy deficit faced by so many of our students. Moreover, it would increase the opportunities for individual assistance in large classes and create avenues for collaboration among all involved.
I do hope this initiative takes off. Teachers are willing and ready to use the resources in whatever ways possible to enhance the teaching and learning processes. We welcome it.