WPHS Students Pick Up Chromebooks Tuesday

WHEELING — A new era in education starts this week in Ohio County Schools, as Chromebooks become the essential tool in high school and middle school classrooms.

On Tuesday — two days before schools starts on Thursday — the school district will begin distributing the 2,000 Chromebooks purchased for students in grades 6-12 as part of Ohio County Schools “1:1 Initiative” to put technology in the hands of each students. The new technology cost the district $670,000.

Students at Wheeling Park High School will pick up their Chromebooks Tuesday at the high school. The student must be present with their student identification and a signed contract agreement before they will receive their computer.

There are designated times for distribution of the Chromebooks. Sophomores can pick up their computers from 10-11 a.m.; juniors from 11 a.m. to noon; and seniors from noon to 1 p.m.

A tailgate party for incoming freshman is set for 4-7 p.m, and freshman will receive their Chromebooks and class schedules during this time.

Students at the middle school level will get their computers at the discretion of their school’s administrators after school starts, according to JoJo Shay, innovation coordinator for Ohio County Schools.

Students will receive and complete school assignments on their Chromebooks, and additional tools — even textbooks — have been downloaded on the devices to help the education experience.

Software called “Screencastify,” a lightweight screen recorder for Chrome, will be utilized.

“(Shay) has worked with principals and teachers on things such as ‘Screencastify’ to provide kids with a tutoring piece,” said Superintendent Kim Miller. “You get that by downloading (it through a) link, and you can watch how to do something.

“This is just the beginning. We’re just scratching the surface right now.”

Miller said in the long-term, the Chromebooks “could change the way we educate our kids.”

Last year’s sixth grade students received Chromebooks as a pilot project in the county, and the effort was deemed a success, according to Miller.

“This was a success because (Shay) and her team have worked through the growing pains with the teachers, because this is a new way of teaching,” she said. “When I went to school, I wouldn’t have had any of the tools to deliver a lesson using technology.

“People have to be open-minded to change, because it is different.”

Over time the students and the teachers will become more acclimated to the new way of learning, Shay said.

She and her team have been using social media and Facebook Live broadcasts to answer questions posed by the public about the technology. Those broadcasts remain available on the Ohio County Schools Facebook page.

The first broadcast attracted 1,135 viewers, and reached 2,457 people, according to Miller. The broadcasts have focused on how to take care of the Chromebooks, Chromebooks in the classroom, and Chromebooks at home.

The Chromebooks will come to the students already equipped with math, social studies and science texts. The school district pays a licensing fee for use of the text, but it is far less than the cost of the textbooks, according to Shay.

“We will use the money saved to help cover the expense of the Chromebooks,” she said.

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