Monday, December 2, 2013

Sorry Mom... PARCC, Chromebooks, and $


Chromebooks are the best device at the best price. 



I am a little partial because I am a huge fan of Google, I literally wrote the book on Google, Education and Common Core. Google Apps Meets Common Core (Corwin 2013). All joking aside, Chromebooks are the best device for the PARCC test and regular use in classrooms for the reasons below.

Price
Chromebooks range from $199 all the way up to the Chromebook Pixel touchscreen, keyboard, and 4G LTE for $1200. School districts are strapped for cash and each school must have enough devices for their students to take the PARCC exam and still meet the testing window. My school where I am pricnipal (Westside High School) in Jonesboro, Arkansas just purchased a $435 model Chromebook that we will give each student in grades 8-12, about 700 students. Our particular model has 3 USB ports, SD, and VGA. The whole project cost the district $400,000. By comparison my mother is a superintendent in a school in a neighboring county (Trumann School District). They are a K-12 Apple environment for $1.5 million every three years Apple leases K-2 iPads and 3-12 MacBook Airs. The schools are similar in size, we are even in the same football conference (we beat her this year!). The $400,000 we paid is a one time fee. We own the devices. The advantage to a Chromebook is that it is an always new laptop. Each time the devices is booted (8 second boot) the device automatically updates to the newest version of Chrome OS. Easy management also. Checkout Chromebook management here for some awesome information that saves man hours... never image another computer as long as you live.

Functionality
Students need a device that is cloud ready and works seamlessly with Google Apps for Education. Each student at our school has a Google Apps account that includes Gmail, Drive, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Calendar, Drawings and more!!! Read the book to find out more. Each device has access to all of the students files via the Google Drive. A student can open up their Chromebook in English class to start an essay, use the computer labs Mac during 3rd period, edit the paper on their phone at lunch and finish up on their family's PC at home. Google gives a special gift called device neutrality.  It works on any device anywhere in the world. Hello cloud computing.

PARCC
Every Chromebook is compatible with PARCC. Each student in grades 5-12 will take their entire state mandated test on an electronic device. WinXP is not supported. Check out the pic at the top of the page to get the latest information on devices.

Enough said, it is compatible for PARCC and it only cost $199 per device. One other thing, if your school is an iPad district you must buy an external keyboard to make the iPad compatible with PARCC.... Sorry mom!