Mobile Computing | News

Oakland Unified Rolling Out 8,000 Chromebooks

Oakland Unified School District in California plans to implement more than 8,000 Chromebook laptops in classrooms for grades 3 through 12.

According to Gary Yee, superintendent of OUSD, the initial goal of the implementation was to "give all students access to a reliable wireless device" and also to "meet the state requirements for online assessment." California school districts are required to complete a Smarter Balanced assessment field test for students in grades 3 to 8 and grade 11 this spring, and the Chromebooks meet the system requirements for the online assessments.

The district selected Dell Chromebook 11 laptops, which feature an Intel Haswell 2955U 1.4 Ghz processor and 4 GB of DDR3 memory, as well as an 11.6-inch screen, stereo sound and a webcam. The laptops run Google's Chrome operating system, and student files are stored in the cloud so they can access them from anywhere on any device with a browser. According to Yee, the Chromebooks will enable teachers to personalize learning for students.

Before delivering the Chromebooks, Dell will set them up on the OUSD Google Apps for Education domain, asset-tag them and laser etch them with the OUSD logo, according information from the company. Once the devices are on site, Dell will also test them to ensure they are configured correctly and can access the wireless network. Dell will then hand-off management of the devices to OUSD information technology staff, who will remotely manage the Chromebooks to install updates, add or remove apps as needed and enforce safe-browsing policies. The devices will be stored in secure charging carts in the schools.

The Chromebooks will be deployed throughout the district during the next few weeks in preparation for the Smarter Balanced assessment field test, which must be completed between April 7 and May 16, 2014.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).