In late 2008, the Clarkstown Central School District technology committee selected Google Apps for Education as the primary portal for its students and staff. Six years later, these free resources are used extensively throughout the district, and students now benefit from the original vision that, “students in grades 6-12 will have an @student.ccsd.edu account that allows them to maintain an online repository of documents (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation) of which they can share and collaborate.”
Financial Savings and Cost Avoidance
In these challenging financial times, it’s valuable to note that there is no cost for the Google Apps services the students and staff use. After switching to Gmail two years ago (also no cost), the district avoids the significant costs associated with the licensing, servers, and backups needed for the previous email system.
Moving forward, the district will continue to evaluate the technologies it uses and the devices it selects. For example, Chromebooks have a significantly total lower cost of ownership, and a reported cost avoidance of more than five thousand dollars per device over a three year period. With a battery that lasts a full day and a system that starts in under ten seconds, it’s no surprise Chromebook sales rose from less than 1% in 2012 to more than 21 percent of all notebook sales in 2013 (source).
Considering the thousands of computers in the schools and the district’s recent halfmillion dollar investment in a robust and rock-solid wireless infrastructure, Chromebooks and “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) should play a significant role in future decisions. Though not the right tool for all uses (i.e. powering SMART Boards), they are useful for most of what our students do. With a per unit cost under $300, it’s no surprise manufacturers such as Dell, HP, Acer, and Lenovo have joined Samsung as key players. Indeed, it is an exciting time in technology, and an even more exciting time to be a learner! Boundless!