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Chromebook Mania Hits Hoover

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15-Nov-2014 (HCS) – Chromebook mania has hit Hoover. Thousands of the Google, cloud-based devices now sit in the hands of Hoover students as part of the latest installment of the school system’s 1:1 program, the Engaged Learning Initiative (ELI).

In late November, Hoover City Schools’ technology staff distributed the last of the Chromebooks to Hoover’s ten elementary schools.  Students in grades 3-5 now join their intermediate and middle school counterparts in having district-issued devices.  For these young learners, it was akin to Christmas coming early.

“As soon as they saw the tech coaches coming into the classroom with the Chromebooks, they were so excited.  This really is a game-changer in many ways for how they will learn,” teacher Elizabeth Gilmore said.

“Students are so excited.  They are so anxious to get started.  They’re like, ‘What is our first lesson going to be?’” teacher Amy Williams said.

HCS ELI Project Lead Mrs. Alyssa Hare coordinated many aspects of the Chromebook rollout.

“We’ve put a lot of work into it.  We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible on the teachers.  We want to make it fun, we don’t want to make it work,” Hare said.

HCS Technology Integration Coordinator Mrs. Kelli Lane works daily with educators across Hoover City Schools.  Her goal with this Google project?  To drive home the usefulness of the Chromebook and its related educational applications, a process that started well before the 2013-14 school year.

“We’ve been working hard all summer on this process preparing our teachers.  So what we did is we brought in a team from each school – and called them the ‘E.L.I. Facilitators.’   We worked with them all summer long on how to use the Chromebooks in their classrooms and how that can impact their kids instructionally.”

Students in grades 6-8 received Chromebooks last year as part of ELI.  Tenth-twelfth graders have iPads.  Chief Technology Officer Mr. Bryan Phillips respects Apple, but believes the Google platform better serves the K12 setting.

“The Chromebooks mean a lot to us.  It’s one of those deals that’s manageable.  We can tell you exactly what that kid has and has not done (on the Chromebook).  We can feed things directly to that device.  We can basically give them every tool they would need for the classroom,” Phillips said. “It’s an excitement that you don’t see very often.  It’s what keeps me going.”

See more on Hoover City Schools’ Engaged Learning Initiative here.

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