The Lodi Unified School District (LUSD) has approved district-wide implementation of the 1:1 Home to School Connection Initiative — a device checkout program that allows each student to check out a personal Chromebook for school and home use — for the 2019-20 school year.
According to the LUSD website, students are not required to check out a Chromebook and can opt out of the initiative. Each school will have additional devices for those who opt out to ensure that students will still be able to complete activities requiring Chromebooks in class.
Some students say that having their own Chromebook will improve their educational experience.
“It’d improve my experience having a Chromebook because [I’d] have more of a chance to use it at home and during passing periods instead of having to keep it in the classrooms,” sophomore Russell Sunio said. “It’s more convenient.”
Other students, however, raised concerns about the possible mistreatment of the devices.
“I think [having Chromebooks] is great, but the problem does arise of [students] not bringing the Chromebooks back or damaging them,” junior Amritpreet Mahal said.
“It depends if you’re responsible enough to keep it in your backpack. If they had a laptop at home, would it affect them at all?” – Sophomore Twa Chan-Nguyen
In addition to possible mistreatment of the Chromebooks, the LUSD website answers other questions and concerns that students, parents and teachers may have, including safety concerns, technical difficulties and how students who do not have internet access at home will be able to use the Chromebooks.
“Students can work offline with Google applications and several other applications,” the LUSD website said.
While this is true, many school assignments are not exclusive to Google applications and involve other websites such as Google itself, which cannot be used without internet access.
Bear Creek Principal Hillary Harrell said that making Chromebooks accessible for students who do not have internet access at home is one issue she is worried about.
“No. I have access to a personal computer at home. I would have no use for it.” – Junior Lauren Oaks
“There’s some pretty cool programs that we’ve seen other schools and districts use where kids can rent hotspots,” Harrell said. “I do have a lot of questions about who’s going to pay for that, so we’re in the beginning stages of [planning].”
Although cost may be a concern for some students, the district is not buying a new set of devices for distribution.
“As far as I understand, we are taking the existing Chromebooks that we have and repurposing them to give them to students,” Harrell said.
The LUSD website reports that it will be free to check out a Chromebook, but there are potential costs, such as repair costs in the event that the device breaks and a $25 coverage plan to financially protect students from accidental damage or theft.
“It sounds like extra weight to carry around a Chromebook. I don’t think it’s really necessary.” – Junior Troung Phan
Regardless of the current questions and concerns about the 1:1 Home to School Connection Initiative, LUSD and Bear Creek administrators are working to ensure that the initiative will enhance the educational experience of students.