The ability to learn in Chinook School Division is getting a technological upgrade over the next two years.

Approximately 2000 computers in the division are currently 9 years old - the industry standard is four-to-six years.

This has led Chinook Division to revamp their computer technology.

The division is in the process of acquiring 1786 durable and portable Google-owned laptops, called Chromebooks. The computers have been planned out to average one Chromebook for every three students in the division.

Rob Geiger, Manager of Information Systems with the school division, explains the push to adopt Chromebooks over other devices for the upgrade. Rob Geiger headshot

"First of all, they're cheap. When it comes to education, that's always a major consideration. Second of all, according to studies, they require 93% less IT support. For example, we set up 300 Chromebooks today. To compare that to a Windows device, it takes between two and three hours to fully image a Windows device," he said. 

Geiger explains the new Chromebooks, at worst, will fit right into the industry standard of a four-to-six year shelf life. 

"They're designed to last five years, then they'll stop getting updates. Since they're a really low-end device, we don't know what will happen after five years. Google has promised to support them for five years - after that, we don't know. What we want to do in the future is try and get ahead of that so we're prepared. When things start declining in their ability to be used, we want to be able to say we have a plan to move forward with that," he said.

The Chromebooks have been budgeted over two years for the division.

Geiger's use of Chromebooks over other considered devices will result in savings of over $650,000 over the two years for the division.

The students have loved the upgrade too. After focus groups were tested in a variety of grades and schools, the vast majority of students either chose 'strongly agree', or simply 'agree', when asked if they preferred the Chromebooks after trying them out.

In times of technological convenience, Geiger noted that students enjoyed the increased speed of the computers as well.

Geiger and the division have already purchased 1000 of the computers, and look to start distributing them to schools, along with tech-support lessons for teachers and students, as soon as the devices have been set up.

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