Lake County Schools distributes Chromebooks to high school students

Schools in Lake County are in the process of distributing laptops to all of its high school students.

A couple of years ago the district rolled out a five-year plan to buy Google Chromebooks for its students. The plan is ahead of schedule.

“You just come in and just open up your laptop and then your work is just right there,” East Ridge High School student Kyle Johnson said.

The district started initially with a couple of hundred laptops. Now, they have more than 23,000. They are currently only distributing them to students at high schools. That is about 11,000 laptops. Kids at East Ridge High School just got theirs a couple of weeks ago. They are already putting them to use.

“It is super important to us that these devices, they never teach the students,” Lake County Schools Director of Information and Instructional Technology Duane Weeks said. “They’re a tool that the teacher uses to teach the students.”

Teachers said the Chromebooks are a game-changer for them.

“It changes the way you grade,” East Ridge High School Physical Science Teacher Kelly Darby said. “Like grading used to be by paper 150 pages every assignment. Now something self-grades, grades it automatically. Or I can quickly provide feedback to all the students or comments.”

The Chromebooks also come with apps needed for the classroom.

“Like mostly everything is online, and I mean, I think that’s just what our generation is about now,” East Ridge High School student William Dixon said. “It comes with a lot of like perks with it, like Google, Google Documents. Just all these things.”

The district has spent about $8 million dollars on the Chromebook program. That includes money from the state and money set aside locally to cover the costs.

“I feel like it’s giving them skills that they’ll need after high school to be 21st-century learners,” Darby said.

This is only year two of the district’s five-year Chromebook plan. The goal at the end of the plan is to make sure all students from third grade all the way up to 12th have a Chromebook.