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CHS Mobile Device Program

The CHS Mobile Device Program was launched in 2014-15 to provide every student in grades 7-12 with a mobile device for their exclusive use. This will be accomplished by combining student-owned and school-provided devices.

New Features

Several features are being introduced to improve the program:

  • Students who agree to bring their own device for the school year will be awarded $30 per year starting in 15-16.  Good uses of these funds would be purchasing a second charger for use in the charging lockers at school or a replacement battery that will last through the school day.
  • As we retire devices at the end of each year, those devices will be given to the students with the highest responsibility index. Students can increase their responsibility index by helping their classmates use their devices more effectively and by using their own devices in effective or innovative ways. Students decrease their responsibility index by using their device inappropriately, not keeping their device charged, not bringing their device to school, using their charger in classrooms or hallways, removing the identification label and using the loaners when they haven't brought their own device or kept it charged. Larger deductions are given for borrowing devices without signing out, keeping borrowed devices over night without permission, not using protective cases, leaving devices unattended or unsecured, vandalism, etc.
  • Insurance rates for individual students will be adjusted up or down according to risk factors. Those risk factors include loss or damage of devices in previous years as well as the student's responsibility index discussed in the previous item.

Educational Impacts

We anticipate increased student learning through

  • Media-Rich Resources. With mobile devices, students can use audio, video, animations, simulations, linked diagrams, etc to understand processes, relationships and context. The student is in control of the resources and can return at any time to review or deepen their understanding.
  • Immediate Information Access. Instant access to current information on any topic via the Internet.
  • Active, Student-Centric Learning. Students learn more when they are actively engaged in learning rather than being passive observers. Mobile devices are another tool teachers can use to keep learning focused on the students and tailored to their needs.
  • Tech-Readiness for Career, Higher Education and Life!

The Time is Right

Several factors are converging to create this opportunity

  • Compatibility: Until recently, using different devices caused insurmountable compatibility barriers due to file formats and software variations. Google Apps now provides a suite of productivity applications that run on a wide variety of devices. New web standards and technologies also allow for sophisticated web-based resources that previously could only be offered through software installed on conventional computers.
  • Capacity: The Idaho Education Network (IEN) provides our school with seven times the Internet bandwidth we had just two years ago, and the IEN has been scaling up bandwidth to meet our needs. The Idaho High School Wireless Project has provided a dense array of wireless access points in our school capable of handling the load of a wireless device for each student.
  • Cost and Availability of Devices: As the cost of laptops declines and simpler devices are entering the marketplace, more students have their own devices, and they would like to use those devices at school. With the previously noted compatibility advances, the school can now leverage the student-owned devices to reduce the cost of providing devices for all students to a sustainable level.

Device Requirements

We identified core requirements needed to provide a rich array of technologies. Devices must have these capabilities
  • A full version of at least one of the major web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer)
  • Complete implementation of Google Apps including drive, docs, spreadsheets, presentation, file sharing, etc.
  • Flash-enabled to support animation and video in apps and on websites
  • Physical keyboard to allow efficient keyboarding rates

And the devices are..

  • Windows laptops - Windows 7, 8 or 10
  • MacBook (version 10.6 or higher)
  • Chromebook (any version)

The Basic Plan

Students who have a qualifying device, which they are willing to use at school, are encouraged to do so. Other students will be issued either a chromebook or an HP netbook for their exclusive use. In 2015-16, students who commit to using their own device for the school year will receive a $30 payment. Our intent is that students will use the funds to purchase extra battery chargers to be used in charging lockers at school, or replacement batteries to help their device last the entire school day on a charge.

Insurance of School-issued Devices

Students issued a school device could purchase insurance at $20 per year for 2014-15. Click here to download the insurance form/waiver.  Insurance will cover theft, loss, and unintentional damage. The premium for subsequent years will be adjusted up or down based on the fund balance in the insurance pool and any changes to a students risk rating due to past losses, damages or irresponsible use. Student-owned devices may already be covered under home-owner or renter insurance policies, or a policy rider might be available to extend coverage to a student-owned device. The school does not offer insurance coverage for student-owned devices. Students with school-issued devices will not be allowed to take their device out of the school building unless or until they have enrolled in the school insurance plan.

Keeping Devices Charged

Students are responsible for making sure that their devices are charged when they bring the devices to class. The devices have adequate battery capacity to last through a school day. The school will also provide forty-two charging lockers with user-settable combination locks, for those times when a device needs to be charged during the school day or over night. Each locker will have a chromebook charger, and an available plug-in so that students with their own devices will be able to charge them in the lockers as well. Under no circumstances should students plug into a classroom or hallway outlet to charge their device. Doing so poses a tripping hazard that could lead to injury and/or damage to the device. If a student has an immediate need for a chromebook, they may borrow a loaner from Mr. Hinze's room for a small fee.

Internet Content Filtering

All internet access over the school network is filtered. School-issued chromebooks will be filtered regardless of where the device connects to the Internet. School-issued HP netbooks and student-owned devices will not be filtered when they are off the school network. Violations of the school's acceptable use policy will be enforced for school-provided devices, regardless of whether the device is being used at school or elswhere. Parents are encouraged to set rules about use of the devices at home and at other off-campus locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact Chris Hinze (chris@cascadeschools.org, 630-6057 x2590) if you have additional questions, comments or concerns.

Q: What if we do not have Internet access at home?
A: Google Drive has an off-line mode, so students can continue work on documents, presentations, etc when they do not have Internet access. The next time the device is connected to the internet, any offline work will be synchronized to their Google drive. In future years, we expect to incorporate more on-line curriculum. There are no easy answers here, and we will probably have to handle this on a case-by-case basis, considering options such as having the student use internet connections available from neighbors or nearby businesses, or making arrangements for the student to use the school network outside of school hours.

Q: Will the school offer tech support for students using their own devices?
A: Our goal is to have the technology operational for every student, every day. We will help the student with issues such as connecting to the school network and helping them configure their devices to run our core technologies (examples: will troubleshoot Flash issues, will not diagnose why World of Warcraft isn't working). The school will also not be involved in repairing or replacing hardware in student-owned devices. Regardless of the problem, student should feel free to consult with our tech support if they are having problems with their device. There are loaner chromebooks available for students to use in the high school office if their personal device is temporarily out of service. Students should see Mr. Hinze if they will need a loaner for several days.

Q: Which type of device does the school recommend?
A: Any of the three qualified devices will perform well for school use. A conventional Windows laptop or MacBook will have greater capabilities, but at greater expense and complexity. Please keep in mind that parents are not expected to purchase devices, but if you are thinking about buying, chromebooks can be purchased for as little as $200. There are Windows laptops that sell for low prices also, but these are often underpowered and unreliable, so plan on spending $600 or more for a durable machine. MacBooks sell for around $900 with the academic discount.

Q: Will chromebooks be available for purchase through the school?
A: No. There are no academic or volume discounts available to the school, so there is no cost-advantage in purchasing through the school. Also, purchasing directly from a retailer allows the buyer to deal directly with the retailer for issues such as warranty repairs.

Q: Which brand of chromebook do you recommend?
A: Please consult this link for end-of-life projections for chromebook models. We have had good experience with the Samsung chromebooks. Lenovo is known for making very sturdy products, but at a higher price. Do not expect significant performance gains in going with higher-priced chromebook models - Internet bandwidth will play a bigger role in performance than processor speed.

Q: How does printing work with a chromebook?
​A: Chromebooks cannot print directly to a USB printer, but they can print to any printer with a Windows or Mac computer acting as an intermediary. They can also print to any "cloud ready" printers without requiring another computer to act as an intermediary. We have several "cloud ready" printers on campus, and students can also print to our other printers. For more information about cloud printing, visit this link.

Q: Does the school provide protective covers for the school-provided devices?
A: Yes. We provide protective sleeves, which must always be used when transporting school-issued chromebooks.

Chris Hinze,
Jun 18, 2015, 9:19 AM