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Examiner
  • Fort Osage School District begins implementing computer plan

  • Gone will be the traditional computer labs at Fort Osage elementary schools and Fire Prairie next fall. Instead, students will use Google Chromebooks on a more regular basis, increasing their access to technology.

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  • Gone will be the traditional computer labs at Fort Osage elementary schools and Fire Prairie next fall. Instead, students will use Google Chromebooks on a more regular basis, increasing their access to technology.
    “It was time to replace computers,” said Stephanie Smith, public relations officer for the Fort Osage School District. “We think these carts will be more effective and will help students gain access to more technology. They will be working on computers every day this way.”
    The Fort Osage Board of Education approved several bids Tuesday in regard to this technology plan implementation. This includes $28,800 for 90 Chrome boxes for computer rotation replacements in Learning Labs; $234,980 for 820 Chromebooks for the 1:1 program; $39,200 for the annual renewal of the Microsoft School Campus agreement and $23,750 for 10 mobile carts for the Chromebooks, also part of the 1:1 program. The goal of this program is to get a tablet or laptop into the hands of every district student in the next few years.
    At each of the elementary schools and Fire Prairie Middle School next fall, there will be mobile carts with about 30 Google Chromebooks each. These will move from classroom to classroom as needed by the teachers. Two instructional technology facilitators have also been hired to help teachers utilize the Chromebooks in their lessons more effectively.
    For the seventh graders, every student will receive a Google Chromebook to use daily. This will happen at the end of first quarter.
    A small laptop, the Chromebook operates with a Google Chrome Web Browser. Seventh grade teachers will each receive a device before the end of this school year to start training and developing lesson plans.
    Both initiatives are part of the district’s 1:1 program.The Chromebooks and mobile labs are being purchased partially through federal grant money. The majority of the cost will come from the more than $1 million that was left over from the April 2011 bond issue. The implementation of this technology plan was put on hold briefly following the Sandy Hook tragedy. School district officials have since been looking at ways to increase safety and security at all the schools.
    “We did not want to promise the Chromebooks until we knew what the cost of the security upgrades would be,” Smith said. “Those estimates have been coming in very good, so we can do all of the security upgrades and the technology as well.”
     
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