Two million dollars will give students access to a wealth of new technology in Hall County.
More than 4,300 Dell Chromebooks will be purchased for student use, thanks to $2 million in SPLOST funds approved by the Hall school board Monday.
“The number one request I get from principals is, ‘We need more student devices,’” said Aaron Turpin, executive director for technology.
Turpin said Chromebooks, which look like small laptops, do not function the same as laptops, but are the right device for most student work.
“East Hall High School has about 300 of them in place right now,” Turpin said. He added the devices will be provided spanning all grade levels, from elementary to high school.
The SPLOST funds will also provide for about 600 classroom wall cabinets, which each store at least 10 devices. The cabinets also function as charging stations, and can be locked by an administrator for security purposes.
“One thing the schools are telling us is, when the machines are in the classrooms, they are used more often and more appropriately,” Turpin said. “This way, we can store them safely and charge them.”
The district has about 200 of the cabinets in classrooms already and Turpin said “everyone loves them.”
The additional 600 cabinets will cover about half the district’s classrooms, which Turpin called “a start to what we need.”
The new technology follows a total WiFi renovation completed over the summer, which was necessary before adding thousands of new wireless devices to schools. The district is now more than able to provide WiFi for these devices and many more.
School board chair Nath Morris suggested the district do a “technology tour” to show the community how these devices and others are used by students in the classroom. He said the district did one three or four years ago, but the available technology has grown tremendously since.
Superintendent Will Schofield called the new technology “exciting,” adding it is one of the district’s major steps that teachers and students are looking forward to most.
“It sounds like a whole lot of money,” Turpin said. “But it will get us a long way down the road.”