Two technology gurus on the faculty of Evanston Township High School are expected to make a pitch tonight to the District 202 School Board to consider providing a free Chromebook to every freshman at the school, starting with the incoming class this September.

In a memo to the board in advance of tonight’s presentation, David Chan and Paula Frohman are advocating what they call a “one-to-one digital learning initiative,” whereby every student would have access to a computer that would enable them to continue learning “after the bell rings.”

They have formed an implementation committee tasked with determining how the concept has worked at other schools and that taps into the experiences of some 50 teachers at ETHS that have been using mobile device carts to give access to computers for virtually every student across nearly all disciplines and areas of the building.

A one-to-one initiative, they contend, “would allow more opportunities for our students to create, collaborate, and communicate in ways that are not currently possible, and it would further enable students to learn how to learn, use the internet, research their world, and connect their ideas with a greater audience.”

The pair insists that these skills are essential to prepare students for the demands of a modern society.

“While we know there will certainly be challenges and a lot of work to be done,” they wrote, “we are confident  that a well-planned program with participation from a variety of stakeholders, coupled with our previous experiences, will lead to positive change at ETHS.”

Chromebooks are laptop computers that are made by several manufacturers using the Chrome operating system by Google. Most Chrome laptops retail for less than $300, but would be available for considerably less if purchased in volume.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. This is a great idea, but…

    This is a great idea. This will definitely assist those who do not have computer access at home. However, if these are not being given to the student but, rather, lent to a student, the responsibility of the student peaks. Being an ETHS alum, I had friends who could not walk the stage unless the coughed up damaged book money. So, that can be an issue if a laptop is lost, stolen, or damaged. Not to mention, if the bad apples of evanston know that children, now, have laptops with them, it can create an unsafe commute to and from school. The number of tech related robberies in evanston are pretty high (reported and not reported.)

  2. Just wondering

    Since so much of this collaboration and creativity using these Chromebooks requires use of the internet, will taxpayers be asked to pay the monthly internet access fee to Verizon or some such similar company?

    I know that there is wifi available at certain businesses. But ask my kid (who does not have a smartphone but instead relies on business-based wifi), that kind of wifi is typically not accessible from one's home or from many other locations. 

    1. Low income rates available

      Comcast & ATT already offer lower priced internet services for low income Evanston residents.  That's what you should sign up for at home if you don't have it already.

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