Rancho Santa Fe School District considers switch to Chromebooks


The Rancho Santa Fe School District may opt to purchase Google Chromebooks for its technology program, replacing the Apple iPad. Ben Holbert, district technology director, is scheduled to make an expenditure recommendation at the June 4 board meeting.

Since 2013, the district has had 1:1 iPad distribution in grades 5-8 and 2:1 distribution for second through fourth grades. Kindergarteners and first-graders have six iPads per classroom.

Holbert said the iPads brought the district to a certain point, but he has been evaluating technology tools to see what platform allows students to get more work done. He said the Chromebook is a great solution as a tool for students, as it has a full keyboard, and unlike the iPad is a “windowed environment” where more than one application can be open at a time. Holbert said the Chrome operating system software has great capabilities for things like documents, e-book authoring and video conferencing — all things they want the students to be doing.

“Our students do so much writing,” Superintendent Lindy Delaney said, noting the importance of a full keyboard. “I think we feel like an iPad and iBook offers great graphic things, but that’s not getting to the root of what we want students to do. We want them to be writers, and we want them to get work done.”

At the June 4 board meeting the board will consider options for repurposing the district’s iPad fleet, such as possibly keeping a set in some classrooms.