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Nevada School Expands Student Internet Access with Chromebooks

Renaissance Academy in Nevada is turning to 3G-connected Google Chromebooks to help connect students in the 13 counties it covers. The school, which serves low-income families across multiple districts in the state, recently distributed 490 of the devices to students and staff.

The free virtual charter school promises that each student who enrolls at the beginning of the school year will receive a laptop with parental controls and security software for academic and personal use.

"We promised our students and parents a protected environment for their computing needs, which the Chromebook--with forced proxy settings and content control--allows us to uphold," said Renaissance Head of School Roy Harden. "With 3G connectivity, the Chromebook also gives access to our students who typically do not have an Internet connection at home. We couldn’t ask for a better solution."

Renaissance is one of three K-12 schools that recently went public with their adoption of Google Chromebooks.

Prairie View Elementary School in Wisconsin's Oregon School District has distributed 22 of the devices to a third-grade class. The district's technology plan for 2010-2013 calls for, among other things, "robust Internet access" and "flexible, ubiquitous access to technology."

“Thinking long term, I would love to give every child the opportunity to take home a Chromebook and be connected,” Said Jon Tanner, the district's technology director. “But we never had a product we felt we could do that with before.”

Montgomery School is an independent, co-educational day school serving students in preK through grade 8. Jared Hamilton, technology coordinator at Montgomery, launched a Chromebook pilot program this year that put 40 of the devices into the school's library and academic center.

Hamilton said that the netbooks have helped improve engagement and collaboration around the school's "make a Difference Project," which asks students to share ideas about how to make the world better with their community.

"Big projects like that become so much easier with real-time revisions and collaboration," Hamilton said.

Chromebooks for education cost $20 per student each month. More information is available at google.com/chromebook.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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