Mobile Computing

San Diego Unified Forges Ahead on Chromebook 1-to-1

San Diego Unified School District has gone public with its work related to running 1-to-1 programs for 47,000 of its 132,000 students. The announcement arrived in a blog article that appeared on  a Google site with a byline from Cindy Marten, the district's superintendent. This could turn out to be one of the country's largest student device deployments in a school district this year.

The district, which has 226 schools, has deployed 16,000 Chromebooks running Google's G Suite for Education and Google Classroom.

The adoption of the devices is being accompanied by other digital transformation initiatives. Marten said the district's chief innovation officer, Dan Stoneman, created a "178-point rubric" to use in evaluating classroom technology, "with careful attention to the skills we believe will be important in the future workplace — namely, the skills to collaborate effectively and work in the cloud."

Coverage by The San Diego Union-Tribune called the work the district and Google are doing a "collaboration." The daily paper said Google's "chief education evangelist," Jamie Casap, had recently toured campuses and met with teachers and students to learn how the company's gear and applications were being used in the classroom. The company also "promised" to provide professional development to educators on how to flip their classrooms and work with students on becoming "good digital citizens."

The announcement emphasized the monetary savings of choosing Chromebooks over other kinds of computing devices. "Our district saved nearly $10 million by choosing Chromebooks for our [1-to-1] roll-out," Marten wrote. The Union-Tribune put the cost for each computer at $284.50 "before taxes and shipping." However, she insisted, the devices "are much more reliable"; she didn't specify what the refresh cycle would be for the new computers.

Among the schools that have begun implementing their 1-to-1 programs is Jefferson Elementary, an internationally minded STEAM magnet school that issued 147 Chromebooks to its students in grades 4 and 5 this year. "Even though we're only a month into the school year, we're starting to see positive results," Marten reported.

For example, students in a fourth grade class used the new devices to interview peers, write profiles in Google Docs and work in teams to edit drafts. "The students aren't just learning from me; they're learning from each other," said Teacher Lisa Martin. "I have been able to step back and become a better facilitator."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.