HCS talks laptops, summer Internet safety

HCS technology integration coach Jamie Nutter talks with third through fifth grade parents about the Chromebook laptops students will bring home this summer. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

HCS technology integration coach Jamie Nutter talks with third through fifth grade parents about the Chromebook laptops students will bring home this summer. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—Hoover City Schools students will soon be out of school for the summer, and along with schoolwork and art projects, most students will bring home a school-issued Chromebook laptop. On May 14, the HCS Technology Department hosted an informational meeting for third through fifth grade parents.

Starting in third grade, all HCS students are supplied with Google Chromebook laptops through the system’s Engaged Learning Initiative. The laptops allow students to access educational materials and collaborate on work both in the classroom and from home, and even during the summer.

“(The laptops) give those kids access 24 hours, 365 days of the year,” HCS Chief Technology Officer Bryan Phillips explained.

“There are tons and tons of things there,” technology integration coach Jamie Nutter added. “Tons of educational things there the kids can use.”

Nutter explained the various uses of the laptops, both in and out of the classroom.

“If they’re working in a group project… they can all work, whether they’re at home or in different classrooms in the school, together on the same presentation and get their work done,” Nutter said.

Along with explaining the basic functions, apps and extensions of the Chromebooks, the May 14 meeting discussed Internet safety and tips for balancing the amount of time students spend on the computer.

“I know you’re thinking, ‘This Chromebook is coming home, how do I keep my kid safe?’” technology integration coach Sara Carpenter said.

Carpenter offered parents several suggestions, including creating a family media contract and a sign in sheet.

“I think this is important right now,” Carpenter said. “You have a lot of free time over the summer, and your students have a device that’s coming home.”

Although all HCS students learn about Internet safety at school, Carpenter encouraged parents to continue these discussions at home.

“This is something your students have been exposed to, but it is certainly something that bears repeating,” Carpenter said. “Make sure you’re checking in, what sites are they using, what apps do they like?”