FHS: One Student One Chromebook


Ali Patusky

Students complete assignments in class using their individual Chromebooks.

Catherine Smith, Editor-in-Chief

This year, all students were given a Chromebook, charging cord and protective case at the beginning of the school year. Students are in-charge of caring for their devices. “The mission of the 1-to-1 initiative is to create technological agile learners,” according to the FCPS1 Tech Support website. The initiative allows students to take home and bring back their Chromebook each day.
The initiative began in phases last school year. The FCPS1to1 initiative is a 1-to-1 Chromebook to student ratio. According to the FCPS1 Tech Support website, the decision to begin this program “was based on four factors: ease of use, ease of management, security and affordability.”
The plan is for the Chromebooks to “create high impact learning opportunities, allow implementation of educational programs that integrate and support diverse teaching and learning strategies and stimulate personal growth,” according to the FCPS1 Tech Support website.
Information Technology Specialist Craig Gilmore addressed privacy concerns regarding the computers. This includes the inability to listen in on conversations or access the camera because of the firewall on the secure network. “It would actually have to take massive amounts of hacking skills to get in because there’s a firewall. We have all sorts of security because behind that firewall there’s all sorts of kid’s student information that we have to keep private. I know that’s a concern, but it’s myth versus fact,” said Gilmore.
If students are still worried or unsure of the situation Gilmore suggests using something like a piece of tape to cover the camera. “I do that for my elderly parents because they get freaked out about that as well. So even if they do access the camera, you’ve got something blocking it and they obviously won’t be able to see you,” said Gilmore.
Additionally, while YouTube remains accessible on the Chromebooks, other sites such as Hulu, Netflix, and spotify that take up large amounts of bandwidth, remain blocked. “When a teacher or student is at home now with quarantine, or for whatever reason it’s video, they have to see the kids and get the kid to see the class. If there’s no bandwidth then it gets choppy, and it, sometimes, just won’t work. So we eliminate all that,” said Gilmore.
Gilmore enjoys having the FCPS1to1 Chromebook initiative because “we could be shut down and go virtual in an instant.” The Chromebooks are also less overbearing than the computers. The devices for the initiative are very expensive. “There’s only a limited supply, and everybody in the country is trying to order these devices. If they get damaged and we don’t have the devices to hand back to the students, that could be an issue because we may not be able to get more devices in time. Basically, it’s a great tool. and just take care of it,” said Gilmore.