Parents who may be a bit overwhelmed at technological changes taking place at Evanston Township High School may soon be able to go back for a refresher.
More than 900 computers, called Chromebooks, are about to be deployed to incoming freshmen, and training opportunities for parents are likely to occur, according to David Chan, ETHS Technology Integration Specialist.
At an update presentation to the District 202 School Board earlier this week, Chan said that parent and community meetings are a very important part of the initiative and that opportunities will be presented in the summer and throughout the school year “to keep parents and families informed.”
In the meantime, some 80 teachers met recently at what was billed as a ChromeCamp to provide specialized training for teachers of incoming freshmen.
The freshman class this September will be equipped with these specially adapted computers and will be actively utilizing them in many of their classes. Then, freshmen in succeeding years will also be awarded the devices so that in four years, the entire student body will be using the new technology.
Chromebooks are also being used in many middle school classes in District 65, so that the concept will not be an entirely new one for students at the high school. Chan said that his staff is meeting regularly with their technology counterparts at District 65 as well as with resource personnel at the Evanston Public Library.
According to Chan, this collaborative approach will provide students in Evanston public schools with a more unified learning experience as they progress through the schools and library system.
Also helpful to parents as well as students will be three new mobile apps, to be released soon, that will enable students, as well as their parents, to view assignments, attendance, grades, and other information related to student learning.
One such app, called School Messenger, will be used to deliver both emergency and non-urgent messages on matters such as general event information and weather-related school closings.
“We are committed to using today’s technology to increase communication with parents and our community,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, “while at the same time increasing opportunities for our students who are digital learners.”
Most of the board members used the word, “exciting,” in describing their reactions to the school’s technology plans.
Student technology volunteers will staff the ChromeZone, where students can obtain loaner Chromebooks as well as find answers to questions about the new technology. Students staffing the ChromeZone will receive special training in computer technology as well as in customer service, Chan said.
He added that more information about the technology changes will be available on the school’s website.