A New Age for Alisal

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A New Age for Alisal

House E students carrying their Chromebooks, which have been a central part of school life at Alisal and now they are a part of every student’s daily materials.

House E students carrying their Chromebooks, which have been a central part of school life at Alisal and now they are a part of every student’s daily materials.

House E students carrying their Chromebooks, which have been a central part of school life at Alisal and now they are a part of every student’s daily materials.

House E students carrying their Chromebooks, which have been a central part of school life at Alisal and now they are a part of every student’s daily materials.

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This year has proven to be quite the school year for Alisal so far, with changes such as the new collaboration schedule, new windows, and a new weight room. But the most significant addition this school year is the distribution of chromebooks to each and every student.

Alisal is no stranger to the chromebooks, having had sets of chromebook carts to distribute around the core classes, classes such as English, Math, Science. Over time Alisal accumulated more carts, eventually becoming the school with the most carts in the district according to both Assistant Principal Rito Contreras and Principal Ernesto Garcia. Chromebooks have been a central part of school life at Alisal and now they are a part of every student.

The decision to provide every student with a chromebook was made in 2014 by the Salinas Union High School District according to both Contreras and Garcia. A solution to the fact that 35% of the students in the district did not have access to a computer, was to move to a 1 to 1 model.

As soon as enough Lenovo chromebooks arrived to complete a school set, every English class was called in to distribute the chromebooks, a task Contreras was assigned and ready to take on, “The distribution of the chromebooks was a massive operation that required overtime work and a team effort with fellow staff.  The distribution was a success, being both quick and early when compared to other schools.”

Three months into the school year, both teachers and students have had plenty of exposure to the chromebooks. Garcia has been committed to incorporating the chromebooks in the classroom and student homes stating, “I want students prepared with technology they’ll be using after high school.”

There has been a vast majority of positive feedback throughout grade levels and subjects alike. Xitlali Olvera, a freshman, is grateful to have received her very own chromebook, adding,” I find the chromebooks to be very useful for every class, It’s something I don’t have to bring from home as the school has provided us with them.” Senior Bryan Vargas said, “Chromebooks make doing online work easier than on a phone or having to rely on the library.”

Likewise, teachers are making the most of the new technology presented to their classroom environments. Science teacher Deirdre Gonzales is having her students be proactive with the chromebooks adding, “In chemistry, we use the for online interactions like Gizmos. I also use it to post assignments on Google Classroom.”  Freshman Seminar teacher Sunil Patel incorporates the chromebooks everyday in his classroom, saying the chromebooks are a “great equalizer” among students at all income levels.

Students can be seen in the library working on assignments or carrying the chromebooks home to work on homework. Likewise, plenty of teachers are requiring students to bring their chromebooks, especially the core subject teachers. Contreras really sees good use of the chromebooks both by teachers and students, “They are a good prep for life after high school,” he said. Government teacher Ruben Pizarro takes full advantage of the chromebooks, “I use Google Classroom, Quizlet, Albert.io and Google itself to take surveys related to Government.”

Chromebooks are now a school material and just like other materials there are some issues associated with them. There are times where students forget their chargers or the chromebook itself. As a result, the school has just recently distributed metal storage cabinets fit for 10 chromebooks to all core classes. This could allow for a student to charge their chromebook and use one from the cabinet itself. However, it seems it will be some time until the storage cabinets will be filled to capacity. Contreras add, “As of now, teachers can check out two chromebooks with chargers individually because students have been the priority.”

Soon after other schools began receiving their chromebooks, there was an obvious distinction between Alisal and the other schools . Other schools had gotten new HP chromebooks, while Alisal received used Lenovo chromebooks. Many questions arose  among students regarding why we had not received new HP chromebooks with printing capabilities, a tool Lenovo chromebooks lack. While Alisal did not decide what chromebooks we got, Garcia added we did the most to have them as soon as possible saying,” We worked with the district to get the chromebooks soon. Contreras wanted the chromebooks ready for the start of the school year.” Some parents complained to the district, something both Garcia and Contreras believe they have every right to do. But Garcia said,” The [Lenovo] chromebooks are comparable [to the newer chromebooks] and in some areas even better.”

These chromebooks are just a big step to what’s to come. Contreras revealed the chromebooks to have a 4-6 year life span. These chromebooks are here to stay for a couple of more generations of new and returning students.

Could we potentially see ourselves replacing pen and paper in the future? Only time will really tell where technology takes us as far as education. As Contreras states, “We will follow where technology takes us and provide students with the best we can.”  The chromebooks are definitely a big step, and it is just the beginning.

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