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."
The improving trend of attainment is continuing in Highland as demonstrated by the SQA results published today. Attainment in Highland schools has risen against all key indicators and improvement is also around 2% above national levels of improvement.
Members were today asked to note the good progress being made in relation to the local authority's Recovery Action Plan despite the significant challenges faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlighted that important work on the 11 key priorities continues at pace.
The Highland Council is issuing a reminder that no more than 20 people should attend a funeral service in person. No changes to these restrictions on funeral services were announced by the Scottish Government following the three weekly formal review of coronavirus controls last week.
Move towards a more sustainable delivery of humanitarian assistance proposed as Highland navigates COVID-19 recovery phase. Staff and Communities have been praised for their outstanding response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Today's announcement from the First Minister is very much what we have been anticipating and preparing for in our return to Highland education settings. It is a great reassurance that we can now continue with our work to achieve a full return of pupils and staff, including those who were previously shielding, in August.
Highland Council is reminding communities the service point network remains closed, in line with COVID 19 guidance. Anyone who wishes to access Council services can do so online, over the telephone or by email.
From 29th June, Highland Council Registration Offices resumed birth registration. As birth registrations were suspended since late March, The Highland Council's Registrars are now working through a backlog and it is important that they register births in date order wherever possible.
The Highland Council announced on Thursday 23 July 2020 additional materials will start to be accepted at many of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region and some opening times extended as part of the planned phased reopening. Wood and scrap metal have now been added to the range of items that are accepted at the majority of facilities where the layout and size of the site allows.
The Highland Council can now confirm that the Bulky Uplift Service is being re-instated from today, Monday 20 July 2020. The service was suspended on the 23rd March due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and the need to prioritise staff to provide essential waste and recycling collections.
Following the Council's announcement that contract work valued at over £60 million for new housing development projects across the Highlands has resumed, the Chair of the Housing and Property Committee has confirmed that capital investment works for the Council's current housing stock will be re-starting shortly. Contractors have supplied The Highland Council with detailed work plans for safe working, encompassing social distancing and following all guidance relating to Covid-19.