Sixth-graders will use Google Chromebooks at school for pilot program

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 9:00 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Starting this spring, about 100 Rotolo Middle School sixth-grade students will receive Google Chromebooks to use during the school day.

The Batavia School District 101 board on Tuesday approved the purchase of 100 Google Chromebooks for $27,900 as part of a pilot program.

The district wants to see how technology can improve student learning. Last fall, the district launched an iPad pilot program at Alice Gustafson Elementary School. At the beginning of the year, each fifth-grader received a third-generation iPad to use during the school day.

The Batavia school board in April approved the $54,055 expense for the iPad program. Anton Inglese, the district’s chief information officer, said Chromebooks are considerably cheaper than iPads.

“A fully equipped iPad is almost $600,” he said. “A Chromebook is $250.”

Google Chromebooks are “cloud-based” laptops in which all data is stored online.

“We don’t have to worry about moving data between devices,” Inglese said. “Everything is stored in the cloud.”

He said the Chromebooks will allow “collaboration with teachers and other students in real-life time.” Inglese said they also will help teachers to better gauge their students.

“They will have a much better idea of what a student knows and doesn’t know,” Inglese said.

He said the district will look at how the Chromebook pilot program goes before expanding the program.