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Manchester School District Students Using Chromebooks As Part Of Pilot Project

New computers will prepare students for online state testing

Several classes throughout the Manchester Township School District are using new Chromebooks in a pilot program to see if the small laptop computers that run on the Google Chrome operating system are a good fit for future purchases in the district, according to the district's website.

The district purchased 160 of the devices this year and received an additional 26 computers through a corporate grant from CDW.

The new PARCC assessment that will begin next year - which will replace the NJASK & HSPA tests - is designed to be taken completely online.

Several classes in Manchester are piloting the PARCC test this year.  Two third grade classes at MTES, two seventh grade classes at the Middle School, and two geometry classes at the high school have been using Chromebooks in preparation for the testing.

Two additional ninth grade classes took the pilot test in the high school computer lab.

Schools Superintendent David Trethaway said it's important to get students used to the technology they will be using before the testing begins.

“We are getting the Chromebooks into the hands of our students so that they can use them every day and be comfortable using them for the test,” he said.   “It is also very important that this type of technology becomes a part of everyday instruction in our classrooms.”

the pilot testing is a good opportunity for both the district and the testing company to work out any bugs before the real test is implemented next year, Trethaway said.

Both classroom technology and devices for PARRC testing will be a priority in next year’s school budget, according to Business Administrator Craig Lorentzen.

Wireless internet connectivity was implemented throughout all buildings this year and Lorentzen said the district has already contracted with Comcast to increase its internet bandwidth next year in preparation for increased demand from new devices.  The switch in internet providers will save the district about $15,000 while increasing bandwidth from 40MB to 600MB, he said.

Adam April 09, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Chromebooks are a good option for 1:1 and other school computing initiatives, as they are easy to manage and use. The fast boot-up time is especially important in a classroom environment, as students don't waste time waiting for their devices to finish starting up. But what about schools that use Windows applications? Or that access applications that require support for Java? This can be addressed with third-party solutions such as Ericom AccessNow, an HTML5 RDP solution that enables Chromebook users to connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server and VDI virtual desktops, and run Windows applications or desktops in a browser tab. That means that you can open up an Internet Explorer session inside a Chrome browser tab, and then connect to the applications that require Java and run them on the Chromebook. It's also possible to run other Windows-based testing or educational applications. For more information about AccessNow for Chromebooks in Education, visit: http://www.ericom.com/Education-ChromebookRDPClient.asp?URL_ID=708 Please note that I work for Ericom

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