When sixth- and ninth-graders return to classes in the Dublin City School District after summer break, they'll be outfitted with new Google Chromebook laptop computers to use in and out of the classroom.
The addition is step one of a one-to-one technology initiative that will culminate in 2019, at which point all students in grades 6-12 will have Chromebooks. The laptops will not replace textbooks immediately, but rather serve as another educational tool.
The district initially will purchase 2,400 laptops with filtering software, at a cost of $839,160.
The funding comes from a Bridge Street Tax-Increment-Financing District, which generates $1.5 million per year for the school district, said Todd Hoadley, Dublin superintendent. The board of education dedicated those dollars to technology improvements, he said.
Hoadley said the Chromebooks are part of a curriculum that will move away from textbooks toward a digital medium.
"Those can be kept up to date in a much more robust way than a printed textbook," Hoadley said.
The district won't eliminate any textbooks right away, but likely will move away from purchasing textbooks and progress to purchasing digital curriculum materials, he said.
The digital medium will also give teachers the opportunity to develop and share their own curriculums throughout the district.
The laptops could be used for about four years, Hoadley said, so freshmen could keep their laptops through their high school career. Some districts that have similar programs will sell laptops to graduating seniors for $1.
Sixth-graders will keep their computers for seventh and eighth grade, Hoadley said. Upon entering high school, middle-schoolers will receive a new Chromebook. The used ones could be given to elementary classrooms, Hoadley said.
Students won't use the computers during their entire time in the classroom, however, Hoadley said.
"The teacher is still the vital cog in the classroom," he said.
Students would be issued their computers at the beginning of the year and could use them during weekends and holiday breaks, Hoadley said. As of now, the district plans to have students return the computers during summer break.
Dublin's Board of Education will vote on whether to approve a $40 per student technology fee for the computers that would go toward a fund to repair damaged, lost or stolen laptops, Hoadley said.
Other school districts in central Ohio have also implemented similar technology programs.
The Hilliard City School District began rolling out its program in January 2015. Sixth-graders received iPad mini tablet computers. The district gave devices to middle school students in January 2016 and iPad Air tablets to high school students in August 2016.
The Upper Arlington City School District implemented its own one-to-one technology program in December 2016. Students in grades 6-12 received laptops. Students in grades K-5 received tablets or laptops depending on grade level in the 2016-2017 school year.
The devices help personalize students' learning experiences, said Paul Imhoff, Upper Arlington's superintendent.
"We're very excited to see where we go from here as we enter the second full year of our districtwide one-to-one technology program," Hoffman said.