A number of schools within my charter school network were seeking to pilot mobile learning devices with their students in an effort to address the effects of the technology gap with our student population. Since we are a G Suite for Education school and all of our students have access to G Suite tools (whereas not all of our students have access to Microsoft applications), we decided to go the route of utilizing Chromebooks with the students. We also appreciated the security features associated with the cloud-based sign-in system and the limited program installation abilities.

The schools' goals for the MLD pilot were as follows:

  • To increase student productivity in and outside of the school when completing assignments, projects, and other activities assigned in all classes.
  • To capitalize on the convergence of academic resources such as textbooks, scholarly sources, content rich media and best practices.
  • To facilitate mobile learning across the school, home and beyond.
  • To promote leadership in one’s own learning by establishing access to educational resources and providing a host of tools to craft information in ways that support specific curricular areas.
  • To engage the students more fully in their learning.

Chromebook "Take-Home" Program: For some schools, we setup an orientation seminar with the students (and their parents, for those under 18) during the first days of school where we had them sign mobile learning device "contracts" to confirm their understanding and agreement to the proper use of the devices. Students were permitted to take these devices home with them (to be returned just before they graduated).

Chromebook "Check-Out" Program: For some schools, we setup an on-campus laptop "check-out cart" within a number of classrooms where the students were permitted to check-out laptops as needed and return them at the conclusion of their learning activities. These devices were not intended to leave the campus.

For tracking and inventorying, our larger campuses utilized Follett-Destiny (which allowed the devices and all their associated materials to be "scanned-in" and "scanned-out," much like a modern library system), and for our smaller campuses, we utilized "chromebookInventory," which is simple and free.

Overall, the pilot has been quite successful and popular, and I am continuously receiving requests from schools to add additional devices to our inventory to expand this opportunity for more students.