Chromebooks distributed to Florence One students
FLORENCE, S.C. – The school day began differently for Florence One Schools students in grades three through five. They began their day by receiving Chromebooks.
As a part of Imagine Forward, the district’s 1:1 initiative, each student in the three grades received a Chromebook, to begin the first phase of giving Chromebooks to all Florence One students.
All third- through fifth-graders received their Chromebooks simultaneously, according to Florence One Schools director of technology Kyle Jones.
Richard O’Malley, superintendent of Florence One Schools, said the Imagine Forward initiative will level the playing field for students across the district so that all students have equal access to technology.
“We are systemizing this to make it sustainable for longer outcomes,” O’Malley said.
The Imagine Forward initiative is focused on preparing students for the future through the use of technology, O’Malley said.
“It’s important to know that we are going about this strategically for the purpose of creating opportunities for teaching and learning,” O’Malley said. “It’s not just handing out a device to students. It’s strategic on how we are trying to prepare our students for the world.”
Jones said the district prepared for the 1:1 initiative launch through completing professional development for teachers, teaching parents about their responsibility with the Chromebooks and creating a sharing of resources within the district.
“We are not just putting devices out there,” Jones said. “We want our teachers and students to effectively use those devices as we utilize them throughout the day for teaching and learning.”
Students will not take the Chromebooks home until after winter break so they can get acclimated to using the devices in the classroom first, Jones said.
Teachers began integrating the Chromebooks into the class the day the students received them.
Fifth-grade teacher Margaret Henry at Wallace Gregg Elementary School began using Chromebooks with a reading assignment to deepen comprehension of the text. She said the students had to make predictions about the book based on what they read.
“I thought it went really well,” Henry said. “I think the kids really enjoyed it. They were excited to be on them.”
Before the launch of Imagine Forward, Wallace Gregg had some Chromebooks that teachers could check out. Henry said she started using the Chromebooks for class activities to get them used to using the Chromebooks and Google Classroom.
Henry said she is excited for students to be more engaged and to learn and process information in a new avenue for them.
Davanna McLeod, a fourth-grader at Lester Elementary School, said she was glad to get her Chromebook.
“It feels good because the things we can do at school, we can do at home,” Davanna said.
She said it will make learning easier because the teacher won’t have to repeat information since the students can see it on the Chromebooks.
Prior to the start of Imagine Forward, the 1:1 committee ensured that all Chromebooks were secure with a durable case and a multi-faceted firewall.
According to Jones, all classrooms are equipped with chargings stations and storage bins for Chromebooks.