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Chromebooks doled out to school students

RANCHO SANTA FE — At the Aug. 20 Rancho Santa Fe School District meeting Ben Holbert, the technology director at R. Roger Rowe Middle School, updated the school board that the distribution of Google Chromebooks is underway.

The first phase of the distribution were for students in sixth, seven and eighth grade.

“We distributed all but the 53 of the Chromebooks today and these were just no shows from registration day,” Holbert said.

Holbert told the board that the distribution went well.

President Todd Frank had a question, which came from about every middle school student that he knew.

“They don’t know whether they should be logging into them or using their private emails,” he said. “So what’s the right answer that I can give them?”

Holbert said the answer was that they have an account that they haven’t told the students yet. By the first day of school, he was hopeful an active directory would be in sync with Google. He went on to say that it had been technically challenging to get that aspect working and secure.

With that in mind, Holbert said the students were entered into a manual upload.

Holbert suggested sending out an email update to the parents referring to Frank’s question and the board agreed that would be a good idea.

Staff members, Holbert said, also underwent a two-hour intro into Google operations for education. Following this, staff received another two-hour tutorial for educational standards training which related to grades five through eight. Those were separate sessions.

The tutorials brought staff members up to speed with the new tools and methods, which will be used in the classroom.

“It was a really good day,” Holbert said.

The decision to make the switch from the Apple iPad to Chromebooks occurred at the start of summer. Holbert made the recommendation because he thought Chromebooks technology offered a better platform for students.

In Windows, students can have multiple applications and browsers opened at once. Students would also be afforded the opportunity to utilize software for e-book authoring, document writing, video conferencing and more.

Above all, it had a keyboard.

Delaney pointed out that their fifth graders would be receiving the delivery of their Chromebooks in a couple weeks.

Holbert then gave a brief update on the new security system. The creation is still in design mode. According to Holbert, the security cameras were on track for an October installation.