Google Networks Decatur Schoolchildren

National trade publication Government Technology recently featured Decatur City Schools’ all-in commitment to computers: “Technology Changes How Students Learn in Alabama School.”

The benchmark the magazine celebrates is the school system meeting the goal of its “One-to-One” program, supplying every student in grades 4-12 with a school-issued computer they can use for educational purposes in school and at home.

The goal was actually achieved last year, but last year there was a mix of computer brands, with some students getting Notebooks and others Chromebooks. This year, they’ve gone all Google.

Emily Elam, the school system supervisor of technology, said teachers district-wide use Google Classroom, the Google-promoted learning network that allows teachers and students to share content and participate in discussions.

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The Decatur City Schools this year used $968,573 in one-time money from the state to buy enough touchscreen Chromebooks to outfit those middle school students who had been using Notebooks.

The district’s $3.2 million technology budget this year is the largest in the school system’s history, said system Chief Financial Officer Melanie Maples.

Since 2011, the system has spent almost $14 million on computers and infrastructure upgrades.

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