More than half the students in the Challis School District have their own Chromebooks and the rest of the students will have their personal computers by February.
Superintendent Lani Rembelski said the district has 130 Chromebooks for students to do their school work on, with another 100 scheduled to arrive in February.
“The kids have responded really well to them so far,” Rembelski said. Freshmen received the first order of 30 Chromebooks several weeks ago, and with a few tweaks here and there, Rembelski said they are successfully integrating the technology into their education. The trimmed-down laptop allows them to complete schoolwork online, from anywhere.
Chromebooks are well-suited for students, district IT coordinator Lance Moss with Nuvek said, because they have limited functions. At a Dec. 9 school board meeting, Moss said Chromebooks only allow for web browsing through the Google Chrome operating system, and don’t support any other software. That’s what students need to compete their work, and anything else is an unnecessary addition, Moss said.
Chromebooks have become popular during the coronavirus pandemic and it’s difficult to buy a lot at one time, Moss said. They’re the device of choice not only for remote learning, he said, but also for employees who recently began working from home. When he tried to order 100 Chromebooks from a supplier Moss was told it would have to wait because of an order for one million headed to a town in India.
“Obviously, our order of 100 wasn’t his main interest,” Moss said.
Despite the difficulties, Moss said getting the Chromebooks will be worth it. The computers can be reliable learning tools for at least five years, he said. Rembelski said the plan will eventually be to give a student a Chromebook when they enter the eighth grade and they will hopefully use it until they graduate.
Moss doubts students will have problems adjusting to the new computers. He admitted coming up to speed on the Chromebooks took him a little work, but comparatively he said students have taken to them “like a fish to water.”