Rumson Schools’ Chromebook Project to Bring Students into Future

The following is an edited press release provided by the Rumson School District:

The Chromebook Project, an initiative of the Rumson Education Foundation (REF), has been dubbed the largest, most successful project in the history of the foundation and the Rumson School District.

Chromebook will provide state-of-the-art Google technology to all students in Kindergarten through eighth grade at Deane Porter and Forrestdale schools. The project’s stated mission is to provide “1 to 1 Chromebook technology” and “place the future in our students’ hands.”

“We did a lot of research, and the Google Platform is the optimal choice for our new curriculums — including the math curriculum — as well as for the technology phase of our PARCC assessments,” said Ellen Iovino, the district’s technology coordinator. “Our goal was to introduce new technology that was subject-specific and that would best enhance the classroom learning experience of individual students.”

The first phase — providing carts full of Chromebooks to all fourth and fifth grade classrooms, where all subjects are taught by homeroom teachers — is complete.

In the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classrooms, where teachers dedicate themselves to specific subjects, the Chromebooks have been made available for use in Math and Social Studies classes.

Phase Two of the project got a major boost in funding by an anonymous donor, who offered a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $50,000 in funds, and is on track for its targeted completion date of Dec. 31. All funds are in place for this phase.

Plans for Phase Two include:

• Work on the infrastructure at Deane Porter School (for grades K-3) to expand the wireless network;
• The purchase of Chromebooks and carts for use in second and third grades;
• The purchase of additional Chromebooks and cart for use in the sixth grade science classroom (existing Chromebooks and carts will be utilized for seventh and eighth grade science classrooms);
• The purchase of 150 Chromebooks and five carts for sixth through eighth grade language arts classrooms

Iovino noted that computer technology is available for use by Kindergarten students in keeping with the 1-to-1 initiative.

Currently, Kindergarten and first grade students have access to new Deane Porter Media Center desktop computers as well as the Deane Porter Media Center Chromebook cart (with 30 Chromebooks), purchased during the 2013-14 school year through a grant from the foundation. In addition, each Kindergarten classroom contains three desktop computers for use by students.

“The technology is used mostly to apply the skills that Kindergarten students are learning through interaction with their teachers, and we are continuing to explore different technology – perhaps other than Chromebooks – that will best enhance the experience for them,” Iovino said. “But the fact is, the total number of Chromebooks being provided by the Education Foundation exceeds the number of students in our district.”

Thanks to prior Rumson Education Foundation grants, each classroom in both Deane Porter and Forrestdale schools has been outfitted with a projector, ELMO document camera, and laptop for use by the teacher.

The Chromebook Project is a complement to the wealth of technology already available at both schools, which encompasses 125 computers in all. Computers for student use are located in the Study Lab, Computer Lab, Resource Rooms, Libraries, and Media Center.

The Rumson School District plans to host a Technology Night in the near future, where students will demonstrate what they are able to achieve using the new devices.

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