A technology upgrade is on the way for Sycamore High School students.
Sycamore School District 427 will begin the process of purchasing Chromebooks for its students in grades nine through 12, Superintendent Kathy Countryman said.
“The Chromebooks are a tool that will allow the district to utilize curriculum resources that are real-time and updated on a regular basis,” Countryman said.
The new program will be funded in part by a $30 increase in the registration fee for high school students, from $160 to $190, approved at Tuesday’s District 427 board meeting. Administrators said the addition of Chromebooks will help students who otherwise have limited or no access to such devices currently.
“The technology equity issue is a crucial part of the one-to-one conversation and an important reason for implementation at SHS,” Principal Tim Carlson said Friday. “This process will level the playing field for students without access to technology at school or in the home.”
Carlson added that the Chromebooks will allow added flexibility for the students in their education.
“Resources will be at their fingertips and, hopefully, it will continue to develop the innate curiosity of students,” he said. “A stand-alone textbook doesn’t allow for students to explore deeper or look at ancillary topics related to their subject matter.”
Both Carlson and Countryman highlighted the ability of faculty to update the curriculum in real time with the new technology, something Carlson said teachers at the high school have pressed for in recent years.
“Like any new initiative, there will be some challenges in the beginning,” he said, “but I am confident a year from now we will be very happy about the decision the Board of Education made in order to enhance our student’s educational experience.”
Countryman concurred that finding the best way to introduce the Chromebooks into the high school’s curriculum will be vital to the program’s success.
“Our goal is to provide this tool as a piece of the instructional experience,” she said. “We believe that the teacher provides the main instruction and is vital to student learning and success.”