Chromebook rollout prepares pupils for new era of digital learning
22nd August 2019
The Council has successfully distributed more than 20,000 Chromebook devices to all its schools to support learners to acquire key technology and life skills in facilitating a digitally enabled generation.
Based on the ICT in Learning Strategic Action Plan 2015, The Highland Council started the Chromebook Project in November 2017 where every pupil in P6-S6 will be allocated a Chromebook for their use in school and at home for educational purposes and P1-P5 pupils will have access to Chromebooks at school on a 1:5 ratio.
The rise of digital connectivity is transforming how pupils learn in the classroom and as such The Highland Council has developed its strategic action plan to ensure all learners have access to the appropriate technology to help them acquire these vital life skills. Deploying Chromebooks makes up an important part of this plan in narrowing the digital skills gap.
The project was phased over 2 years with approximately £6 million spent on providing Chromebooks to schools and embedding the use of G Suite for Education into the curriculum. The provision of Chromebooks has also allowed the Council to reduce the number of traditional laptop and desktop computers in schools, and in turn reduce ongoing support costs.
The rollout covers 29 Associated School Groups (ASG), over 200 schools, 22,000 Chromebooks, 35,000+ pupil and teacher accounts and was recently completed with the rollout of devices to the Kilchuimen ASG.
Initial feedback on the Chromebook Project has been pleasing with teachers saying:
"Chromebook usage allows easy access to homework exercises. Pupils can access material and notes at home through our website. Pupils can track their own learning and progress with individual charts that are shared between them and their teacher."
"It helps pupils with literacy difficulties access courses and supports writing. Videos can be used more to support ideas. Pupils can be more independent in their studies."
"It has made it much easier for pupils to do research e.g. to help with discursive writing; to access online revision resources; to access Google Classroom."
Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee, said: "I am delighted with the success of the Chromebook Project.
“Education globally is undergoing a radical transformation due to the universal nature of modern digital lifestyles and changing youth culture and we cannot underestimate the value in learning to use culturally relevant technology in developing life skills and preparing pupils for future careers. Digital access for all and the skills to use it effectively is essential for health, wellbeing and prosperity. This is particularly important for areas of digital exclusion."
Applicants for the Scottish Government's Temporary Business Closure Grant can now apply even if they do not have a formal business bank account. Businesses will now be able to use a personal bank account as evidence, if the account is mainly used for their business banking.
A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of.
Members at yesterday's previously adjourned and re-scheduled meeting of Highland Council voted to carry a motion introduced to make adjustments to the agenda in light of the situation in relation to COVID-19 and Brexit. The urgent motion was proposed by Highland Council Leader Cllr Margaret Davidson and supported by the Leader of the official Opposition, Cllr Raymond Bremner.
The Highland Council has issued a letter to all parents providing an update regarding the reopening of schools and early learning and childcare settings following the announcement made yesterday by the First Minister that the country is now in a national lockdown. All Highland schools will remain open but the only pupils who should attend are those identified as vulnerable and the children of Key Workers when no other arrangements can be made.
The Highland Council met today (7 January 2021) and took the opportunity to discuss Brexit. A number of issues arising from the UK's exit from the EU were discussed and the complexity of the situation was recognised particularly since there are a number of other concurrent issues such as COVID.
The Council wishes to provide re-assurance to communities that it's Winter Gritting teams are continuing to work extremely hard throughout the area during the current lock-down, providing a road and pavement gritting service following the Council's policy on prioritisation of routes. Details of the council's highland wide and local area gritting policies and maps are on the Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting.
The Highland Council today launched the Temporary Business Closure Grant. This grant is available for businesses who have had to close due to the COVID-19 protective measures introduced on Boxing Day.
The Highland Council is giving more time for people to take part in it's draft food growing strategy - Growing Our Future. The extension, until the 28 February, will allow outcomes from the up-coming Highland Good Food Conversation to be incorporated in the strategy.
Local groups in Caithness are reminded that the closing date for Your Cash Your Caithness applications is drawing near and to be in with a chance of receiving a share of £10,000.00, forms need to be received by 5.00pm on Sunday 2nd February 2020. £10,000 of funding is available to let the local community decide for themselves which projects are needed in their area.
Following the announcement from NHS Highland yesterday that the number of positive cases of Covid in the Highlands had tripled in just a few days, the Leader of The Highland Council is reminding everyone to follow all guidance and to remain extra vigilant. Councillor Margaret Davidson said: "Up until now the low Covid numbers we have had in our area has been due to very high levels of compliance with the restrictions and the excellent partnership work across Council, NHS Highland and Police to successfully deal with local outbreaks.