Tag Archives: Chromebooks

2021 Technology Refresh

Large-Scale Device Updates

The primary goal of the ICCSD Technology & Innovation department is to provide technology equipment and services that will allow our students to engage with their learning, and our teachers to provide innovative instruction, without presenting technological barriers. We took a big step in that direction this week as the school board approved our device refresh plan, which will:

  • Replace student 1:1 Chromebooks, while formalizing the permanent extension of our 1:1 initiative to grades K-12
  • Replace computer lab and other student-accessible computers in our schools and classrooms
  • Replace staff-assigned and utility devices districtwide

This project represents a major undertaking for our department, but also has a number of benefits. The new Chromebooks will provide students with three oft-demanded features that we’ve never been able to provide before. Specifically, the devices offer:

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  • a convertible form-factor, meaning that they can be used as traditional laptops (like our current Chromebooks), or the screen can fold flat against the back so that the devices can be used as tablets. This provides flexibility of usage that will be of particular benefit to our younger students.
  • touch screen capability with support for pen input will also be available on these devices. While we have had a small number of touch-capable devices in our fleet, it’s never been enough to provide to all younger students, and none of our existing devices support pen input. While we do not plan to initially provide pens with all devices, we have the ability to offer that in the future for targeted grade levels, programs, or for specific students, as needed to support students’ ability to work and interact with the device.
  • a rear-facing camera will be available on devices when they are in tablet mode. While this likely sounds like a small feature, it has been our most requested feature for future Chromebooks, as it allows students to take pictures of written work and projects for submission via Seesaw or Canvas, and allows the devices to be used for activities like photo scavenger hunts.
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We expect that devices will arrive in late April, and are currently working to firm up deployment plans and timelines. Please read below for more information about this project, including the answers to some of the most common questions we’ve received thus far.

Continue reading 2021 Technology Refresh

ICCSD Providing Home Computer and Internet Access During COVID-19 Closure

It is important that students and families are able to gain access to educational, news, and communication resources during this challenging time.  To this end, Iowa City CSD’s Technology & Innovation staff are preparing to make Chromebooks available to elementary school students who do not have access to computers within the home.  Families of elementary students that do not have access to a laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet in the home may complete this request form or call (319) 688-1950, after which you will be contacted with instructions for picking up the device.  We do ask that requests be made by families who lack computing resources at home, as we wish to ensure that devices are available to all families in need of service. 

While secondary students have been assigned a Chromebook from their school as part of the secondary one-to-one Chromebook program, we recognize that some students may have left their school-issued Chromebook at school prior to leaving for Spring Break.  If a secondary student’s Chromebook is still at school at this time, please contact the ICCSD Technology Helpdesk at helpdesk@iowacityschools.org, or by calling (319) 688-1950.  

We have also worked with telecommunications providers to identify opportunities to provide for internet access to District families with no existing internet service. If your family does not have internet service at home, please fill out this form or call (319) 688-1950 to arrange for district-provided internet access.  Once your form has been submitted, we will contact the telecommunications provider and assist in arranging for the establishment of service during the COVID-19 related school closure.  Again, we ask that requests only be submitted in cases where home internet is currently unavailable, as we want to ensure that resources are available for all families in need of service.  The ICCSD Technology Helpdesk is expected to remain open throughout the school closure, and will be available to support use of district-provided technology beginning Tuesday, March 24. You can contact the Helpdesk by emailing helpdesk@iowacityschools.org, using the chat option available in the bottom right corner of innovation.iowacityschools.org, or by calling (319) 688-1950. 

Getting Started with 1:1

On August 23rd, ICCSD began issuing 1:1 Chromebooks (laptops with Chrome OS) to each student in our high schools.  As we get started with this program, please check out our 1:1 Information page, which includes a program overview, policies, content filtering information, privacy information, and other useful information for students, parents/guardians, and teachers.  

What about hub computers?

I’ve been writing a great deal about the cool, new technologies that we’re deploying – our secondary 1:1 program, device infusion at the elementary level, our new classroom suite that includes wireless video and voice amplification, dramatic network infrastructure improvements, virtual applications, and staff device upgrades, to name a few – but am going to devote some time today to a device type that will be phased out within our classrooms.   Continue reading What about hub computers?

ICCSD Tech Slack Chat #1: Supportability & Innovation

This is the inaugural edition of the ICCSD technology Slack chat.  This will be a recurring series, with a different topic for each chat.  Joining me for the chat today were Kelly Nelson, Denise Rehmke, and Justin Miller.  We look forward to bringing others from within and outside the technology & innovation department into our future chats.  If you have a request for a chat topic, please send it to me.  

ajkurth (Adam Kurth, Director of Technology & Innovation): Welcome everyone; I hope that you’re all having a fine Thursday afternoon.  As a reminder, the topic for today’s chat is: walking the line between supportability and innovation.

nelson.kelly (Kelly Nelson, Help Desk Manager):  I’ll kick off by expressing my enthusiasm for changing how we deploy teacher computers. I think this will simplify support tremendously. Continue reading ICCSD Tech Slack Chat #1: Supportability & Innovation