The future, if not the present, of all aspects of work and life is digital and connected, and to help ensure students are ready to keep pace with a fast-changing world, the City School District is investing in the equipment and infrastructure to help kids succeed.
This morning, Batavia High School began handing out Chromebooks to students.
Chromebooks, running a browser-based operating system from Google, will give students instant access to the world, their teachers, and their classmates as well as provide a suite of software tools they can use for research, study and creation.
"Whether going on to college or the world of work, you have to know how to gather information, analyze it and interpret it and we're going to be able to help our kids do that at a much higher level," said Superintendent Chris Dailey.
The overall experience of using digital devices will make academic life at Batavia HS more like what students will experience in college, so Dailey thinks those students who continue their education will be better prepared.
"By giving kid a college experience at an early age, when they’re going on, whether it’s to the world of work, military or college, they are on par, if not above, everybody else in our region," Dailey said.
The experience begins in elementary school where students have also been assigned Chromebooks and students participate in classes, such as the one that teaches keyboard skills to students at Jackson Elementary using games for lessons and practice.
The Chromebook rollout culminated in the three-year planning an implementation process that included upgrades to the Wi-Fi network at the high school.
Daily praised IT director Jeff McKinney and his staff.
Students will also be able to take classes in repairing the computers, which will give them, Dailey said, another level of understanding about technology as well as better equip them for their future in work or academics.
The program is being paid for entirely within the school district's regular budgeting process because there are also cost savings associated with it, such as a reduction in costs for laptops and desktops.
"A traditional history textbook cost more than these devices, so we can now get that history textbook online, plus all the others, for significantly less than before," Dailey said.
Dailey said he's also well aware that the future of work is based on technology and students need to be prepared for that new world, which in many ways has already changed dramatically.
"My father-in-law owns a printing business and where they used to have eight guys running the press, now they have two and both of them are computer literate because they’re running a computer that is running the press," Dailey said. "Computers are changing everything."