New year, new computers for SSP students

When South St. Paul High students go back to school Sept. 3, they’ll be equipped with a new educational tool: a Google Samsung Chromebook.

Recently the district purchased 800 of the laptops in an effort to equip all juniors and seniors with a computer for use at home and school. Students in the upper elementary grades will also be able to use additional Chromebooks available in student areas.

Chromebooks are somewhat unique among laptops in that they use web applications for all operations instead of storing programs on a hard drive. The cloud-based computing allows for a smaller and more portable design-- a Chromebook weighs less than 2.5 pounds and measures less than an inch thick.

South St. Paul students will use the computers to log into individual Google Apps accounts and save their schoolwork in Google Cloud, an online storage system. Students will be able to share their work while their accounts remain secure.

High-tech priorities

According to Edudemic, a website dedicated to technology in education, Chromebooks are attractive to school administrations because they are ready for use without software installation and are automatically updated. In addition, the installed Google applications are likely to be already familiar to students and teachers alike. Applications include GoAnimate for video production and Geogebra, which focuses on geometry, algebra, graphing and calculus. In addition, the Chromebooks will offer YouTube EDU, which features lessons on a plethora of subjects, including music, languages, history and social sciences.

The Chromebooks are the newest addition to South St. Paul Schools’ 1:1 (a computer for every child) computing initiatives. In 2011, the schools purchased 600 Apple iPads for student use. The secondary building began using its iPad fleet for a 10th grade 1:1 pilot program last school year.

The South St. Paul school district passed a continuation of a technology-specific levy in 2010. The levy expires in 2020.

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