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updated: 2/13/2014 6:23 PM

Mundelein High preparing to issue laptops to all students in fall

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  • All Mundelein High School students will be given Chromebook laptop computers starting in the fall.

      All Mundelein High School students will be given Chromebook laptop computers starting in the fall.
    AP Photo

 
 

As Mundelein High School officials prepare to issue laptop computers to all students next fall, they're cautioning teens and their parents about proper -- and improper -- use of the machines.

Appropriate handling and protection of the Chromebooks is among the subjects covered in an eight-page handbook to be given to teens and adults before the Chromebooks are delivered.

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There's also a warning that Internet activity will be monitored by the district, as well as a reminder that websites with inappropriate content -- such as pornography, gambling or hate speech -- will be blocked whether the computer is on campus or elsewhere.

Superintendent Jody Ware emphasized those last two points in an interview this week.

"The use of the district's network ... is a privilege, not a right," Ware told the Daily Herald in an email. "Student and staff members have no expectation of privacy in any material that is stored, transmitted or received via the district's network or district computers."

Students who try to access blocked content will face disciplinary action, Ware said. Repeated occurrences could lead to a computer being taken away from a student, she said.

These rules and many others will be reviewed during orientation meetings parents and students must attend in order to receive a Chromebook.

Families are required to attend one of the nine meetings scheduled for this month, March and April. Incoming freshmen who will start at Mundelein in August must participate, too.

Two meetings have been held already. The others are: Feb. 18; Feb. 25; March 4; March 6; March 10; March 11; April 15.

All are at 6 p.m. at the school, 1350 W. Hawley St.

The Feb. 25 and April 15 sessions will be presented in Spanish.

An estimated 2,100 Chromebooks have been ordered, one of every student who will attend Mundelein High next year. The effort is one of a growing number of so-called "1:1 initiatives" that provide publicly funded laptop or tablet computers to every student in a school.

Schools in Gurnee, Lincolnshire, Palatine and Schaumburg have similar efforts.

Mundelein High officials announced their program last year. They chose Chromebooks because they're relatively inexpensive, have a long battery life and have quick startup procedures, among other positives.

The computers cost $249 each, and management software will cost an additional $30 per computer. Those costs won't be passed along to families, Ware said.

Families will have to pay a $50 technology registration fee, however.

Students will receive the computers during the first week of classes. They'll be expected to bring them to every class, unless advised otherwise by teachers.

"In some classes there may be more Chromebook use than textbook," Ware said. "In other classes, it may be more textbook. Teachers are being trained on how to use the Chromebook within their curriculum."

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