Laptops | News

New Jersey District Launches 1:1 Deployment with 5,000 Laptops

In an effort to bridge the digital divide, Passaic City Public Schools will begin a phased deployment for a district-wide 1:1 computing program by distributing 5,000 laptops to all students in grades 7-12. The district has partnered with Samsung to provide Google Chromebook 550s.

A lightweight laptop device with a matte 12.1-inch, 1,200x800-resolution screen, Samsung's Chromebook offers 4GB of RAM and 16GB onboard SSD storage. The device runs on Google's Chrome operating system, giving students and instructors access to Google's array of cloud applications. Managing users, applications, and policies across all devices can also be done remotely via a Web-based Google console.

"In the past, if you were to deploy 5,000 laptops, you'd have to image them, keep all software updated and perform maintenance on a regular basis, putting a significant strain on IT resources," said Passaic City Schools Director of Information Technology Joshua Koen, in a prepared statement. "With the Samsung Chromebooks, when we want to deploy a new app or update, we just add it to the management console and it applies to all 5,000. The bottom line is, this massive deployment would simply not have been possible for Passaic City Schools with any other device."

To prepare for the launch, Passaic City Schools upgraded its infrastructure to make Wi-Fi available throughout the district's 16 schools. Because nearly half of the students in the Passaic district lack access to the Internet at home, the district plans to install directional access points on the roofs of its school buildings, which will allow students to access the Internet from home on their Chromebooks.

"This 1:1 initiative with Samsung Chromebooks is the culmination of many years of planning aimed at realizing our goal of narrowing the digital divide for our student population," said Lawrence Everett, Passaic City Public Schools interim superintendent, in a prepared statement. "With access to Samsung Chromebooks every day and all day at school, and also in their homes from later this year, Passaic students will now have much greater opportunities to obtain the 21st century skills that are so essential to success once they graduate and enter the workforce or college."

One of New Jersey's largest school districts, Passaic City Public Schools is an urban district located west of New York City. The in-district enrollment of students in its 14 elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school is about 14,500. The district's 2013 operating budget is approximately $51.7 million. For more information, visit passaic-city.k12.nj.us.

For further information about Samsung, visit samsung.com. For details about Google Chromebooks, visit google.com.

About the Author

Sharleen Nelson is a freelance journalist based in Springfield, Oregon. She can be reached at snelson858@comcast.net.

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