CCS on track to reach technology goals

Published 9:01 am Monday, December 5, 2016

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior staff writer
CLANTON — Chilton County Schools is making progress on technology goals, including internet upgrades and making more devices available to students.
Technology coordinator Kim Arrington recently told the Board of Education  that many schools are close to having enough devices so that every student can use one at the same time. Arrington has already secured funding for 197 Chromebooks and the carts to hold them.
“I’m just waiting on everything with the finance department, for us to be told that we can make purchases,” Arrington said.
She said she may be able to apply for another Alabama Ahead grant for more devices in 2017.
The school system has the needed bandwidth to have every student on the internet at the same time. However, Arrington said there are not enough wireless access points or devices in all of the schools to make this possible.
Every class will have its own wireless access point after December, Arrington said. This leaves devices as the last link to one-to-one connectivity.
Technology goals for the future include Chromebook carts of 30 Chromebooks for sixth through eighth grades and five devices per classroom for elementary grades. Arrington said she wants to have a Chromebook cart for every core subject at each of the high schools. This was accomplished for the high school math classrooms last year. English and science are considered  as possibilities for the next subject.
“The feedback that I have gotten back from principals is that English would probably be the easiest group to add to because they would definitely use those,” Arrington said. “They submit essays already online.”
Arrington said the Chromebooks are not going home with the students.
“I don’t think we are ready for a one-to-one take home program,” Arrington said.
Integration of technology into a number of subjects is also being worked on.
“I meet with the principals and the tech coordinators every August and provide them the technology course of study and remind them that that is not just for one teacher in a school that is for every teacher. Every teacher should get a copy of that and should follow it,” Arrington said.
This course of study outlines different objectives for different grades.
“It’s very detailed for grades nine through 12. In the lower grades, it’s things like be familiar with the keyboard, not real in-depth technology,” Arrington said.
Chromebooks are the preferred device in middle school and high school. Arrington said iPads or the Chromebook touch is better for lower elementary grades.
Arrington also said the school system needs to plan for the future because the life of a Chromebook is about 5 years.