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McKenzie School receives grant for new Chromebooks

McKenzie School’s students are more wired than ever, thanks in large part to an educational grant courtesy of Mid-South RC&D.

The grant, totaling $5,448.83, was used to purchase a class set of Chromebooks, a cheaper alternative to laptops or desktops in the classroom setting that have exploded in popularity across the country.

Students of all ages at McKenzie School will be able to use the devices with their Google accounts to create documents, slideshows, interact with Accelerated Reader, Performance Series Testing and many other online resources.

The tablets are stored in a mobile charging cart that teachers can use to check out sets of the Chromebooks to ensure a technology-rich classroom experience.

McKenzie media specialist Laura Shell said that today’s students are quickly becoming acclimated to technology from a very early age.

“All students at our school utilize computers on a daily basis,” Shell said.  “Our kindergarten students complete Accelerated Reader and STAR tests online and other online resources such as Stride Academy.”

She added that kindergarten classes typically work better with the larger desktop computers, but some use Chromebooks as needed.

The rest of the students at McKenzie in grades 1-12 use Chromebooks daily to supplement the number of computers in classrooms.

Prior to the grant, the school used three Chromebook carts, which each carried around 30 devices, in addition to another older set of 30 devices without a cart.

Thanks to the latest grant, the school was able to add 22 new Chromebooks and management software to that total, alongside 13 others that were purchased with some previous Title I funds.

As for the carts themselves, they hold up to 35 Chromebooks and their respective chargers, all while providing an incredible convenience to school staff.

“It’s a wonderful way to store and charge the devices,” Shell continued.

“The devices usually hold a charge for most of the school day.  The carts are housed in the library/media center, and teachers check out the carts and keep to use in their classrooms for whatever time periods they need.”

For a number of reasons, including their size, portability and cost, the Chromebooks have revolutionized how McKenzie teachers weave technology into the school’s curriculum.

“Teachers are able to assign projects, papers, etc. for the students to produce and turn in completely online,” Shell added.  “Teachers can grade the assignment and return it through email or Google Classroom without ever printing anything.

“This saves money and resources, and it also prepares the students for future college courses and the technology-rich work environment.”