Garland ISD has expanded its 1:1 program and has provided all elementary school students access to Chromebooks to be used as a reliable educational resource.
The district partnered with the 1 Million Project (1MP) Foundation and has provided over 10,000 GISD students in grades K-12 this opportunity. In July, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a statewide initiative, Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to provide mobile connectivity and device solutions to school districts. The funds supported by the initiative would be distributed through the order of technological devices and reimbursement for previous expenses from the spring semester.
“We wanted to provide robust and reliable access to technology and digital resources, with connectivity for all students,” Executive Technology Officer Matt Yeager said. “Giving every student the opportunity to learn and understand how to use technology to both enhance learning and create quality learning experiences.”
The Chromebooks implemented in the classrooms have allowed students to become more engaged with the subjects and has enhanced the compatibility from the previous devices distributed to the classrooms. Each student has their own Chromebook, which is ready to be picked up in carts corresponding to their grade levels.
“I feel that it is a lot better than what we had earlier because I wasn’t able to take my science and math tests,” fourth-grader Julianna Schultz said. “Now things are loading quicker, my old Chromebook used to say pages are unavailable.”
This has also allowed students to connect with other students who are remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mobile education and with programs not taking a long period to load has created a different dynamic in the classrooms.
“I think students learn best when they’re not frustrated. It’s not the concept of education that we were teaching that was causing the frustration, it was the technology with things not loading on an even scale,” fourth-grade teacher Lori Malone said. “When the technology is working, everything opens in a timely manner. We can immediately get them engaged in the assignment and they’re not nearly as frustrated and not bored.
The 1:1 Program has distributed over 18,000 to Chromebooks to students in grade levels K-12. Each device is assigned to a student to be used at school during their school year. This program is included in the fiscal budget for the 2020-21 school year and will be an ongoing annual budget item.
“We are happy GISD has provided these for us. It's going to be exciting to have them for the years to come,” Malone said. “When everyone is all back in the classroom, we can balance the pencil and paper with the technology because they’re going to have it and already know how to use it.”