Eighth-graders will be entering the technological age this coming year as they will be issued laptop computers in the first step toward going paperless in all Warren County schools.
“This is the first step in transitioning from paper to digital textbooks,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox concerning the plan that will be implemented during the coming 2015-16 school year. “These will be for the students to use and take home but they will have to return them at the end of the year since they are the property of the school system.”
The school has chosen Chromebook as its vendor. Officials are looking at providing them to around 500 eighth-grade students in all the schools of Warren County. The cost is estimated to be $150,000 to $200,000.
While the front-end costs of going digital will be high, down the road, the margin will even out by not having to replace textbooks on a regular basis, Cox noted.
The Chromebooks provided students will have access to all their textbooks and, at least during this year, the hard copy of the textbooks will remain available to students.
Under the agreement, Chromebook will fix and replace damaged computers at no cost to the school system. The computers are in hard shell cases to help prevent damage from drops. Parents will be required to sign waivers, promising to try to take care of the computers. The waivers will also include rules of use.
The computers will include “Go Guardian” which will monitor what is being downloaded. Certain sites will be blocked, plus the software will send a message to a central office if certain sites or information is accessed. The computers also have tracking devices in case they are lost or stolen.
“There is no privacy to be expected,” said school system attorney Robin Phillips, noting the computers belong to the school. “The computers are to be used only for educational purposes and are not to be shared with others. We can check them at any time.”