Q: How much, in total, will this cost RCPS - in terms of buying devices, maintenance, replacements, staffing, etc.?
A: The final cost of the project will depend on some additional decisions about digital content and supplemental computer labs. The originally proposed annual ongoing cost for this initiative was approximately $4.2 million. However, we have realized some savings in each year of the project and anticipate annual reductions along the way.
Q: Will parents have to pay a fee?
A: The annual fee for RCPS students will be $35 per student up to a maximum of $100 per family.
Q: How will students get homework done if they don’t have high speed Internet access at home?
A: We are aware that not all families have high speed Internet access at home. As a result, our expectation is that teachers not assign work that requires high speed Internet access outside of school. Any assignments that do require such access will be structured such that students can complete them during the school day. We are exploring options for home high speed Internet for families that need it. The Comcast Internet Essentials program can provide high speed Internet for $9.95 to qualifying families.
Q: Will teachers receive a device as well, and what will happen to their desktop computers?
A: Teachers will receive the same 1:1 device as their students. Teachers will also be able to keep their existing desktop iMac.
Q: When will teachers receive their devices?
A: Teacher devices for middle and high school teachers will be distributed on August 16/17, 2016. Elementary teachers will receive a device during the spring of 2017, after the device decision for elementary students is made.
Q: Which staff members will receive a device?
A: All full-time and part-time teachers will receive a device. Additionally, a few devices will be made available for temporary check-out as needed.
Q: When will students receive their devices?
A: Middle School students will receive their device in the late fall of 2016. High School students will receive their device in the fall of 2017. Elementary students will receive devices in the fall of 2018.
Q: Will students be allowed to take their devices home?
A: A final decision about take-home options has not been made. This could vary from school level to school level.
Q: Why do the middle, high, and elementary schools get them at different times?
A: The successful use of digital devices to enhance learning requires a solid wireless infrastructure, as well as technical and instructional support. We have been able to upgrade the infrastructure in some buildings each summer. We have also hired additional support staff for this project in stages. These are not tasks that could be completed for all schools at once. As a result, the roll-out of devices had to be scheduled over a number of years.
Q: Will graduating seniors keep the devices?
A: The Chromebooks are leased by Rockingham County Public Schools and will have to be returned to the vendor at the expiration of the 3 year lease cycle. As a result, graduating seniors will turn in their Chromebooks to be redeployed to rising 6th graders the following year.
Q: How will I be able to still use applications like iMovie and Garage Band?
A: The 1:1 student device will be supplemented with mobile labs of Macbook Air laptops and iPads.
Q: Are the devices filtered? Can students get to social media sites on their device?
A: Devices are filtered off of our network just as they are on our network. All student web browsing is filtered by Securly. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are currently blocked for students.
Q: Is there any way that parents can monitor their children on RCPS issued devices?
A: The Securly filtering solution allows for some parent monitoring of their child’s web browsing. This feature was beta tested in 2016-17 and we anticipate making some monitoring features available to parents at some point during the 2017-18 school year.
Q: What touchscreen Chromebook are you considering for students and teachers?
A: We are purchasing Lenovo Yoga 11e ThinkPad Chromebooks for middle and high school students. Here’s the link to Lenovo’s web page for the latest model of this product:
Q: What about printing from the devices?
A: During our pilot projects, we found that printing needs were reduced significantly. Printers will not disappear entirely, but most student work will be created and reviewed electronically. We will continue to monitor printing needs to ensure that items that must be printed can in fact be sent to an existing printer. Keeping teacher desktop computers and some fully featured laptop carts in place will assist with this task.
Q: Can students personalize the device?
A: Students will not, in any way, deface the device, mark the device, or adhere any non-RCPS
issued stickers. It is acceptable to personalize the RCPS-issued label (e.g. place stickers on
top of the label). Students will also be given a business card to personalize for easier identification of their device case. Further, students can choose images to personalize their account profile photo and backgrounds.
Q: What is the battery life of student devices?
A: The Lenovo Yoga 11e ThinkPad Chromebook battery life is roughly 8-10 hours when fully charged. Students are expected to bring their RCPS-issued device, fully charged, with them to school each day. There is a charging station at each high and middle school help desk for student use.
Q: Is virus protection or are software updates needed?
A: No. Chromebooks run on Chrome OS which doesn’t allow traditional software installation at all and the browser and individual pages run locked inside memory. Chrome OS downloads and installs security and OS updates automatically. This drastically reduces the likelihood of virus infection.
Q: What happens if a student accidentally damages their Chromebook?
A: We purchased Accidental Damage Protection for leased Chromebooks. As a result, families are NOT charged for accidental damage. Students should come to the Help Desk at their school and report the damage. They will be issued a loaner Chromebook while their Chromebook is being repaired. They will be called to the Help Desk to pick up their Chromebook once repairs are complete.
Q: What happens if a student loses their Chromebook charger?
A: Without a charger, students can’t charge their device at home and come to school prepared with a fully charged Chromebook. Students should come to the Help Desk at their school and report a lost charger. They will be issued a replacement charger and will be assessed a $40 replacement charge by the bookkeeper.
Q: What happens if a student loses their Chromebook case?
A: Without a case, students can’t protect their Chromebook. Students should come to the Help Desk at their school and report a lost case. They will be issued a replacement case and will be assessed a $16 replacement charge by the bookkeeper.
Q: How does a student get a strap for their Chromebook case?
A: Brenthaven cases purchased in Fall 2016 did not come with shoulder straps. Students should come to the Help Desk at their school if they would like to purchase a strap. They will be issued a strap and will be assessed a $3 charge by the bookkeeper. Cases purchased in Fall 2017 include shoulder straps.