WINSTON COUNTY - A “one to one” initiative has paid off for the Winston County School System, thanks to the Resource Conservation and Development of Northwest Alabama council association. Through grants, RC&D has provided Chromebooks for every student in the school system.
Lynn High School has purchased Google Chromebooks for their students through a $7,500 grant from Northwest RC&D, according to Lauranne James, executive director of the Northwest RC&D.
“We were very privileged to be able to do that through Representative Tim Wadsworth and Senator Greg Reed,” James said. “They have been very supportive of RC&D, and through their support, we are able to fund local grant projects.”
The money has been turned in, everything has been purchased and the projects are now completed. James and elected officials met with both Lynn High School and Double Springs Middle School on Monday, May 20, to see the end result of these projects.
There are several purposes to the Chromebooks, noted LHS Principal Todd Tittle.
“We have issues if a student has an illness,” Tittle said. “If the student has to be out of school, we can utilize the technology and use the Chromebooks.”
Another use is where teachers monitor students with the Chromebooks for assessment on how well they retain information just learned.
“There are so many different resources they can use on the Chromebooks to give them instant feedback,” Tittle explained. “Used to, the teacher would have to take up the paper, go through and grade them all. Now, (the teachers) can put out a question, students answer it and in an instant it tells them how many got it right...it’s a timesaver, gets the kids engaged and saves paper. There are so many good things you can do using these devices.”
Once finished at Lynn, some of the group traveled to Double Springs Middle School to visit the Google classroom being utilized there.
“In the Google classroom, there are thousands of different apps you can use for every subject,” Assistant Principal Adam Gray said. “We have focused in on seven or eight specific ones everyone can use.”
Another RC&D project in Double Springs was the purchase of smartboards at Double Springs Elementary School.
“Your capable leadership has given us an invitation to come and take a look at what you guys do with these devices,” Senator Reed told the DSMS Google classroom. “We have come up with additional resources to be able to help your school and school system...to provide some of these devices for you guys and maybe more as time goes along so you don’t have to share.”
“Representative Tracy Estes and Senator Reed are responsible for these computers you got,” County Commission Chairman Roger Hayes said. “They do the financing of this. Your parents and you should thank these guys.”
The visitors were then shown how a vocabulary program through the Chromebooks worked and how the students used it.
“We just ordered an additional 1,350 Chromebooks,” Superintendent Greg Pendley said. “That gives us between 2,400 and 2,500 Chromebooks.” This will be enough for every student to have one.
Chromebooks are similar to laptops, but instead of running a Microsoft Windows or Mac operating system, it runs on Google’s own system called Chrome. Many documents and programs are saved and run through the internet, rather than being saved to the device itself.
“We love funding school projects,” James said. “You guys are the eyes and ears in the classroom,” James told Gray and DSMS Principal Ben Aderholt. “The teachers here are the ones who know what these kids need. In order to make it happen, they just need to fill out an application.”
RC&D provided $4,000 to DSES for the smartboards and $2,000 to DSMS for the Chromebooks.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.