Rudder MS students receive Chromebooks through new grant

“Happy Chromebook Day! It’s like Christmas, only better.” Rudder Middle School librarian Patricia Rogers happily greeted students on the first of four days of Chromebook distribution on the campus.

Eventually, more than 900 students were given Chromebook computers to use during the school day and to take home to continue their learning.

“What? It’s new and it’s ours? This is cool!” Eighth grader Zachary Pena had a typical reaction to hearing about the new initiative called One to World. He is looking forward to using his Chromebook to conduct research for history fair and science fair projects.

Zachary Pena takes his new Chromebook out of the box for the first time.

“I don’t want the Chromebook to take over the world,” said Dr. Mary Jewell, principal of Rudder MS, “but be used when it makes sense for instruction. It is a tool to elevate student learning, so they learn to collaborate and communicate and go beyond the classroom.”

The Chromebooks were funded by a Texas Education Agency Technology Lending Grant. The purpose of the grant is to fund technology devices for equitable student access to instructional materials off campus.

“The Rudder One to World initiative is creating life-long learners, promoting 21st century skills, increasing the level of student engagement in every classroom, and preparing students for jobs that do not even exist,” said Lisa Casas, Secondary Academic Technology Coordinator.

Macie Wilson, also an eighth grader, is excited that she doesn’t have to share the device with anyone else.

“Before, you’d have to go to a computer lab or a class would borrow a set from the school,” Wilson said. “It’s good for everyone to have them.”

“I feel special,” said eighth grader Asma Binti NorIslam. Two of her siblings also attend Rudder and received Chromebooks. “I have my own to keep track of homework and grades.”

Asma Binti NorIslam unpacks her new Chromebook in the Rudder library. 

Students were required to complete digital citizenship training and sign contracts, along with their parents, taking responsibility for the devices and accepting the rules and expectations of use.

There are also more than 40 WiFi hotspots students can check out from the library if they do not have Internet access at home.

“I hope through this initiative, students are learning how to harness the power of connectivity, how to access resources that will expand their world, and setting the stage for them to be change agents. They can do so much more than they think they can do,” Jewell said.