RFSD Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Chromebooks in the Classroom, Using New Technology To Help Student Learning

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo… From student-created websites and digital maps of explorer routes to transforming science labs and creating self-paced video tutorials for math classes, Roaring Fork School District is celebrating its one-year anniversary using Chromebooks in the classroom.

The district currently has 2,767 Chromebooks. The one-year pilot program proved so successful the district is moving forward with the Chromebook 1-to-1 Initiative, an initiative with the goal to provide a Chromebook for every 4th-12th grade student in the RFSD over the next three years.

“We are seeing amazing results.  Students and teachers are being quite innovative with their projects at every grade level,” said Jeff Gatlin, former technology director and now chief operating officer at Roaring Fork Schools.  “We are also supporting teachers with professional development around how they can use Chromebooks in the classrooms, having hired a full-time technology integration facilitator.”

The focus is on helping teachers better meet their existing instructional goals by using the best tools available.  “I think every teacher probably has a very similar set of goals for their students, regardless of technology,” said Ben Bohmfalk, technology integration facilitator for RFSD. “So rather than looking at Chromebooks as a new set of goals or standards, we see technology as a tool that will help our teachers get to where they already want to go.”

The goals of the Chromebook 1-to-1 Initiative are to:

  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Foster Creativity and Innovation
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Improve Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Increase Communication, Collaboration and Productivity
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Expand Content Access
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Increase Access to Differentiated Instructional Resources
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Expand Learning Time

Gatlin and Bohmfalk are using the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition, or SAMR model, to measure the program’s success and set goals.

“This model presents a spectrum of technology integration from simply substituting new tools for old ones, to redefining tasks and learning in ways that were inconceivable without the technology,” said Bohmfalk. “Our goal is to help teachers move from substitution to redefinition and engage students in activities that were not possible before.”

Some examples of Chromebooks in the classroom:

  • <!–[endif]–>Almost 2,000 students participated in the Hour of Code in December, learning the basics of computer programming and sparking their interest in studying computer science.
  • <!–[endif]–>Students in many classrooms complete most of their work paper-free, using Chromebooks to conduct research, Google Docs to write and get feedback on their work, and Google Classroom to submit their work to their teachers.
  • <!–[endif]–>IXL and Khan Academy provide students individualized math practice and instruction, allowing each student to practice a concept until he or she masters it.
  • <!–[endif]–>Students at all grade levels are creating collaborative digital projects including websites, blogs, video presentations, Google Maps, and eBooks, learning essential 21st Century skills as they work together to create web-based products.

The Chromebooks program was made possible thanks to voters passing a mill levy just over three years ago.

Chromebooks provide access to the web’s education and collaboration resources as well as offer centralized management and low total cost of ownership. The goal is to allow teachers to spend more time teaching and less time managing classroom technology, while RFSD can deploy more computers into the hands of their students and teachers.

In addition to access to the web, Chromebooks provide the teaching and learning benefits of computers without the typical distractions that come with technology in the classroom, like quick boot and resume time – eliminating the time wasted while traditional computers start up and connect to a network, and a long battery life that lasts an entire school day. Chromebooks can connect anywhere with built-in Wi-Fi and optional 3G, so students can continue learning after school and at home. Applications, school work, and settings are stored in the cloud, so multiple students can use the same Chromebook and still have their own personalized experience when they sign in.

About the Roaring Fork School District

Roaring Fork School District Re-1 (RFSD) is the 30th largest district in the state of Colorado with 5,436 students including preschool. Comprised of 12 schools in the Roaring Fork Valley, the district serves the communities of Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt within the counties of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin. The district has four elementary schools, three middle schools, four high schools and one charter school located in Carbondale.
In 2013, Basalt Middle School received the Governor’s Improvement Award for the 4th year in a row, from the Colorado Department of Education. In 2012 for the second year in a row three schools in the district, Basalt Elementary, Basalt Middle, and Glenwood Springs High School received the same award, representing the top eight percent of schools in the state. Carbondale Middle School was a recipient of this award in 2010. www.rfsd.k12.co.us