Davidson Co. Schools adding Chromebooks to classrooms

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Davidson County Schools will soon be adding thousands of Chromebooks to its classrooms for student use.

Greg Cline, chief technology officer for Davidson County Schools, says they have a three-year plan for dispersing the small laptops. In the first phase, which will start in a couple months, high schools will get the Chromebooks. In the second year, the laptops will be purchased for middle schools, and in the final year, for elementary schools.

The laptops will stay in the schools, to be checked out in groups of 30 by teachers who want to incorporate them into a lesson.

Kim Cline, a technology teacher at East Davidson High School, says she hasn't heard the specifics of the plan yet, but that adding technology to a classroom is always a benefit for students.

"Students, when they're working on computers, in the classroom, dealing with technology, they're very hands on," she said. "They want to share their experiences with each other, they want to help each other. Start to see that class bond.

Cline says each laptop costs around $300. The school district hopes to buy about 250 laptops per school. Davidson County School Board of Education chair Carol Crouse says, in total, that will cost about eight million dollars. Part of that money, Cline says, will be used to update Wi-Fi systems in the schools to ensure they are able to meet the demand for the increased number of devices.

The schools opted for Chromebooks over tablets, Cline says, because of the keyboard. He says this will make it easier for students to type and do assignments.

Other school districts in the Piedmont have also started to incorporate technology into their classrooms. Forsyth County, for example, encourages students to bring their own tablets, and has some extras in case students don't own their own.

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