PECATONICA – Classes will resume within the Pecatonica School District on Aug. 24. Prior to students returning to the hallways within District 321, the students and their parents will be required to attend a mandatory meeting for a presentation on the implementation of Chromebooks as a primary teaching tool. Parents should have received their notices electronically, or in some situations, through the mail.

It’s a big move and an important one, according to Middle School Principal Tim King. It’s a step the District has taken that is expected to bring great rewards to students this year.

“This year is going to be very exciting for Pecatonica Community Middle School, as each student will be issued a Chromebook. Earlier this year, the board supported the recommendation from the District Technology Committee to place a device in every student’s hands for the 2015-16 school year.”

Chromebooks have already been used, they have been implemented and a lot of research was done to be sure the students got the best overall product.

“Over the last two years, we have used Chromebooks along with Google Apps for Education in all of the Pecatonica schools. Chromebooks were overwhelmingly chosen as the device over iPads and NetBooks,” according to King.

The technology take over has been anticipated, Pecatonica School Superintenent Bill Faller said he and his staff have been laying groundwork over the past few years, as the District prepared for the move.

“I would say that the reliance on text books is going to be significantly diminished in the years to come. I don’t think Chromebooks is going to be completely replacing textbooks, it’s just that there are so many things they can do. Just having them will be a huge benefit for our kids. We think it will greatly improve our kid’s ability to learn.”

Within the past few years, District 321 worked on improving their ability to stay ahead of the curve when it came to teaching and using technology as a primary form.

There was work that was done to improve the infrastructure; a better internet-ready environment was built as the District paid for upgrades in anticipation of the move to ChromeBooks.

This move, according to Faller, also opens the door to environmental protection awareness and conservation.

“It will be digital. When the students had to turn in their papers or the teachers had to hand out assignments before, they would print off the information on a piece of paper and hand it to the student, who would turn it in. Now instead of turning in a paper, an assignment, a term paper, whatever it may be, it will be electronic. It will save a lot of money on paper costs.”

In an earlier report in the Gazette Newspaper, (Thursday, June 4), the types of plans that the District had to choose from were many, each with different costs, including damage or replacement.

Sturdiness was a big factor, according to Faller, in determining which style of Chromebook and protective cover would be used.

“One of the things we’ve also done, we feel we’ve purchased a rather sturdy Chromebook, one that can hold up to demand. We also have a case that is going to be with the Chromebook. Ultimately, we have an insurance plan to help cover things.”

If parents have questions about Chromebooks they are asked to contact the District Office.

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