By Seth Daniel
Some years ago, schoolbooks were replaced at Revere High School (RHS) in large part by iPads, but now the iPads are being switched out this year for Google ChromeBooks – and so far the move is getting a thumbs up from students.
All last week, students busied themselves picking up their new ChromeBooks and testing them out before classes started. On Friday, students trickled into the Fieldhouse and said they were excited to be able to have a true computer rather than an iPad.
“I feel this is a good change because I think the ChromeBooks are probably going to work better,” said Sophomore Haley Bennett. “I feel like a big thing will be there is actually a keyboard you can type more effectively on rather than just a screen. They will have better technology definitely because it’s a computer rather than a tablet.”
Parents were also enthusiastic.
“I am happy they’re going with ChromeBooks,” said Elizabeth Bennett, Haley’s mother. “There were so many problems with the iPad. They didn’t always connect to the Wi-Fi. It would always malfunction a lot. That’s a win-win for the district, as the one-to-one iPad program was much more expensive, and the main driver behind the switch were the budget cuts that loomed last year.
“The final decision to switch to ChromeBooks came from the budget deficit,” said Supt. Dianne Kelly. “We had been able to institute the one-to-one iPad program. If we didn’t switch to ChromeBooks, we wouldn’t have been able implement the one-to-one iPad this year. It was just too expensive.”
The district entered into a two-year contract with Google ChromeBooks.
Jonathan Ferrara, director of IT infrastructure for Revere Schools, said the contract on the iPad program was coming up, and they wanted to explore other alternatives.
Academic leaders in the school weighted in with the technical folks, and there was a pilot program with select teachers and students last year. There were also factors, such as an expensive management program that was required with the iPads and is not required with the ChromeBooks.
“We had to pay for a third-party management company and we no longer have to do that with the Google product,” Ferrara said. “We can do away with that because ChromeBooks are Cloud based. The cost of the ChromeBooks are about half of the cost of the iPads too. In a tough budget year, that was a factor.”
Kelly said it wasn’t without a lot of thought that the switch was made.
“It wasn’t without a lot of thought that we took this step,” said Kelly.”
At least one student said there would be less goofing around on the new ChromeBooks.
“I feel like it’s going to be better because there won’t be any games on these,” said Dana Reyenger, a junior. “The iPad was able to have games on it and these don’t have that. That will be better for kids in helping them focus and I also like that this has a real keyboard to type.”
Students will report with their ChromeBooks to Revere High School on Monday, Aug. 29.