South Beloit School District 320 administrators hurry to make updates, and their changes are more than just brick and mortar.
Coming this fall, students will get to use a new 'Chromebook' laptop for writing papers, doing research, and taking tests.
"It's important for our students to have the technological skills in order to compete when they become adults, not only at college but also when they get out into the workplace," says Buddy Pride, Director of Curriculum and Technology for South Beloit CUSD #320 .
Last fall, as part of a pilot program, each of the district's buildings had five Chromebooks, total of 25. That number has been increased to 850 over the summer. The district still has to buy a few more of the $200 laptops so there's enough for each student. That should be done by October.
Scott Fisher, District Superintendent says, "We had put some money away, this is something we'd thought about for years. we do think there will be a cost savings eventually."
A new centralized server will connect all five of the district's schools to the virtual world, and access points in almost every classroom will help them do it wirelessly.
"We worked with iFiber to get high speed internet so that we can make sure that students can access resources in an efficient and timely manner," says Pride.
School leaders admit the district and new technologies have not always been synonymous. "We have always ben just a little bit behind trying to play catch up," says Fisher."We've used a lot of donations, a lot of used equipment."
But all that will change on August 15th when students return to classrooms. Pride says, "Students are very excited, they love using the Chromebooks and they can't wait to have one all day every day."
Textbooks will still be used in class, and students will not be able to take the laptops home with them. But over time, some teachers may choose to lean more heavily on electronics.
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