We’re helping to develop Waterloo’s future innovators. In September 2016, all Grade 9 Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) students received their own Google Chromebook. This exciting, new program puts digital resources in the hands of our students, gives them the chance to incorporate technology in every class, and provides the tools all our students need to achieve success.
Staff are implementing many efforts utilizing technology to support improved learning and instruction and are expanding in classrooms across the WRDSB. These initiatives include many different digital tools as well as blended and online learning approaches that are used in classrooms and schools across the system.
The Chromebook initiative is just one of these projects where technology is being used as an effective vehicle to support learning in new ways.
WRDSB aims to empower our students to gain the skills they need to be successful in the global community by:
- using technology to provide opportunities for our students to learn and grow in a variety of skill areas including communication, collaboration, creation, digital citizenship, critical thinking, and character education;
- using Chromebooks to allow permit our teachers to differentiate instruction in order to meet the various learning styles of our students;
- allowing students to take control of their own learning at their own pace with mobile technology;
- providing equitable access to digital resources.
Building upon the success of earlier projects and initiatives, it is expected that the use of Chromebooks will improve student marks and engage students more by helping them share their work, by inviting collaboration, and by promoting creativity and critical thinking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a mobile computer that runs on Google’s Chrome OS. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet. They are optimized to allow the use of Google applications (i.e.: Google Drive, Calendar, Gmail and Google Classroom). WRDSB students already have Google Apps accounts provided to them by the Board which they will use on their Chromebooks.
What is Google Apps for Education?
Google currently offers school boards a hosted solution for their email, calendar, and file storage through G-Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education) – an integrated communication and collaboration solution. Additionally, users are able to complement the core suite of Google Apps to meet their needs, with access to several more Google services and Third Party applications.
What are the expectations of students?
Each student who receives a Chromebook should expect to:
- use it in each of their classes, unless otherwise instructed
- bring the device to school each day fully charged
- care for the device as if it is their own
- keep the cardboard boxes that the Chromebook came in and take them home. Some schools are making cases or bags available for purchase. However, these will not be automatically provided with each Chromebook.
Students will also be able to take their Chromebook home over the weekends, on holidays and through the summer.
What happens if a Chromebook is broken, damaged or lost?
When a device is broken, damaged or lost there should be a person at the school to whom it is to be reported. In the case where it is evident that there has been malicious or irresponsible handling of the device, the report should be given to school administration.
Students can expect to pay to replace Chromebooks that are lost, stolen, or intentionally damaged before another device is allocated. It will be up to school administration to determine if there is cause for the student to pay (up to the full cost of a replacement – currently $330.00), ie students would not be held responsible for a device that simply malfunctions (keyboard issues, battery no longer charging etc).
Any money collected by the school would then be transferred to IT Services at the WRDSB Education Centre to help offset the cost of the replacement device. This process will be maintained through the in-school technician and Desktop & Technical Service.
Given appropriate direction from administration, the in-school technician would issue a replacement device to the student.
What is the process for Chromebook distribution?
Allocation for Students
- All students in Grade 9 in all WRDSB secondary schools will receive a Chromebook.
- Students who will be in Grade 10 at the three pilot schools, will continue to use the Chromebook they received in 2015-16.
- Students new to one of the three pilot schools who are in Grade 10 will also be provided with a Chromebook through this initiative.
- If a student is not in Grade 9 but is taking a Grade 9 class, they will be loaned a Chromebook for the duration of the class. At the end of the semester, these devices need to be returned to the in-school technician.
- If a student is in a Grade 10 class that is blended with a Grade 9 class, the student would not be eligible to receive a Chromebook.
Students who come to WRDSB after the start of the school year
Eligible students who arrive at a school after the start of the school year will also receive a device. This is initiated once they have been activated within Trillium, and the in-school technician is informed through Guidance.
Students who Move Schools
Students who received a Chromebook but subsequently move away will either:
- Keep the Chromebook if they are moving to another WRDSB school. The tracking of that Chromebook will move from the in-school technician at the original school to the in-school technician at the destination school.
- Return the Chromebook to Guidance (as with any textbook) if they are moving out of WRDSB. Guidance will then deliver the Chromebook to the in-school technician.