Chromebooks Per Person: Classroom Collaboration


Julia Kim

Assistant Principal Kris Linville has been working on a presentation to show the parents later in January for a question-and-answer session about true 1:1. This presentation will also be made available on the school website later in January.

Julia Kim and Ajinkya Rane

Portola students will be the first high school in IUSD to experience true one-to-one, a process in which each student will check out a Chromebook that he or she will be able to use exclusively both on campus and at home for the rest of the school year, starting Jan. 23 to 26., Students will take on the same maintenance responsibilities for the Chromebooks as they do textbooks they have check out. This project has been in the making ever since the start of the 2017 school year and will officially be put into motion second semester.

“We hope that it allows [students] to have the resources they they need to do whatever they need to do in class, whether it’s studying, or writing essays, they have the device ready for use,” Computer Support Specialist Thomas Trinh said.  

Sophomores will go to the Student Commons with their Literary and Language Arts classes and freshmen with their science classes to check out their own Chromebooks to keep for the rest of the year. Students who wish to continue using their personal devices may choose to opt out of the program, but are welcome to checkout a Chromebook if the personal device is unavailable for use, or if they prefer to use a Chromebook for certain functions.

“If you’re a student and you’re bringing your own device – let’s say you’re a Macbook Pro person – you would opt out of the check-out process of a Chromebook,” assistant principal Kris Linville said. “If your Macbook Pro gets damaged in the middle of the year, and now you say, you know what, I do need a Chromebook, then you would work out that process with checking out a Chromebook again.”

True one-to-one was encouraged as staff and administration began to recognize an obstacle in utilizing technology in their classrooms with the use of a Chromebook cart system. Social Studies department chair Jon Resendez emphasized the struggles some teachers on campus face.

“It’s an extra step; they have to access a calendar, they have to see if Chromecarts are available, and then they have to bring them into their room to use them,” Resendez said. “They’re not going to have to worry about that anymore, and because they know their students are going to have them [Chromebooks], they can assume they’re going to have them, and they’re going to make their lesson plans assuming their kids have them.”

Just in the Orange County region, high schools such as Mater Dei and Santa Margarita Catholic School already check out an electronic device to every student. After many meetings that the Administration has attended with such schools, they felt that students could handle responsibility positively, ensuring that students take care of the devices better because they have been given ownership.

“We find that the kids take care of the devices better because it’s their device that they have to keep the entire year,” Linville said. “In fact, we’re saying that these Chromebooks are going to be devices that you keep your entire career here at Portola High School.”

Putting this into motion required feedback from not only students, but also the larger community involved with Portola. The innovative and determined group effort, as well as monetary support from the surrounding community, have allowed for administration to move forward with the one-to-one plan.

“In Irvine Unified, it’s always about the individuals and teams that take the initiative,” Resendez said. “So part of it is the fact that we’re a new school and have that kind of flexibility. It’s a lot harder for older schools who don’t have that kind of technology budget given by the district. But at the same time, it takes people at the school to say ‘Hey, we want to do this, we want to try it, let us develop a system, let us take the risk,’ and be willing to try, and then if it doesn’t work, be willing to make changes. You need the district’s financial support, but you also need the initiative at the site, and when those two things come together, that’s when things happen.”

With the start of second semester, staff members anticipate some challenges, such as mishandling or losing devices, along the way. However, administration remains positive about the future of Chromebooks becoming a great digital tool for all learners.

“What I’ve been impressed with is the way we move here,” Linville said. “We’re in an environment where we’re risk taking; we encourage it with our students, we encourage it with our parents, and we encourage it with our culture here… The culture that we have is if we fall down, we get back up. And so if we keep trying to plan out all the small problems that are going to happen, we’re never going to move forward.”