Chromebooks to be the next big thing at Norwalk Public Schools

Norwalk BoE,054
Norwalk Public Schools Chief of Technology, Innovations and Partnerships Ralph Valenzisi shows off a Chromebook Tuesday at the Board of Education meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. – Come the beginning of March, Norwalk elementary school students should be able to use inexpensive yet versatile laptops via newly installed Wi-Fi at school to take the Smarter Balance Assessment, a testing program that is aligned with Common Core State Standards.

The Norwalk Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to purchase Chromebooks, using nearly $423,000 from the $600,000 carrying over in the budget from the 2012-2013 school year. The company E-Plus was chosen to install Wi-Fi at all the schools, while Cisco/Meraki will provide the hardware and controller solutions.

The network will not crash, although all of the computing and data storage will be done online, Norwalk Public Schools Chief of Technology, Innovations and Partnerships Ralph Valenzisi said.

“As we put these pieces in I’ll be able to look at a controller that’s accessable through the internet and be able to see what devices are being used where,” Valenzisi said. “When it comes time for certain things like the Smarter Balance assessment we can make sure that only these computers get priority on the bandwidth. So if someone has their iPhone connected, that would be cut off at that time frame so we don’t have a problem with the assessments. This is one of the reasons you see the project at $1.4 million. It’s not to exceed that and we will come in under that.”

The Chromebooks, a Google product, do not use software. Board member Steve Colarossi asked why this was better, saying there are deficiencies in Google Drive programs, such as spreadsheets and word processing.

Valenzisi said most people don’t use 90 percent of the capabilities of Microsoft’s popular software Word.

“I actually sit on the national advisory committee for Microsoft for K-12 education,” he said. “So for me to say that we’re moving towards a more Chrome environment is a pretty strong statement.”

Board member Artie Kassimis asked why Chromebooks were chosen over iPads. Valenzisi said Chromebooks have Flash, enabling certain types of animations used for teaching.

The “wonderful instructional tool” will be more versatile for more types of programs and be accessible to the staff. They will be used for 90 percent of the teaching, with full computers still being used for computer assisted design, art and music and iPads still in use for other things and Macs for art and music.

Most American K-12 schools are going to Chrome, he said.

“We will be able to give students access outside of school by logging onto a Google Chrome browser on any other device,” he said.

Bids for the Wi-Fi installation came in at between $550,000 and $4 million, most of them between $1 million and $1.7 million. The Wi-Fi will be available to visitors at the schools via a guest password, but students will have priority.

“One of the key 21st century skills we want to give them is the ability to collaborate,” Valenzisi said. “Having these tools available to them anywhere will allow teachers to start to deliver that type of instruction. Since most of our resources are already web-based it actually offers us a very versatile solution to be able to give kids access outside of the school system if they can just get onto any other type of tablet or computer.”


39 responses to “Chromebooks to be the next big thing at Norwalk Public Schools”

  1. More of the Same

    It will be interesting to see how these devices hold up. What is the annual amount to repair and replace the lost, damaged, and stolen ones. Will we be replacing these every 2 to 4 years as Google suggests? Will we forego pencils and paper? How much staff will we need to monitor usage? What happens when hackers figure out they can compromise the system and send unwanted information to the devices or allow kids to sit around and watch movies all day on these? How are these devices proven to help children with basic fundamentals of learning? Are they to do their homework in conventional means of books, papers, and pencils, or do they get to bring these home? Or are we just so freaking rich we can experiment here with the futures of our children?

  2. More of the Same

    “I actually sit on the national advisory committee for Microsoft for K-12 education,”
    Link please. Surely such a reputable, distinguished advisory panel on technology would have a website. So where is it?

  3. Tobias

    I think it’s a great step forward but us it a side step? Kids need to be ready for the technological future and tablets are that… But I hope we stay current with it and not have these in 10 years talking about the “new” tablets we bought.
    Also, if Cablevision or AT&T want to be a part if our community, why can’t they give back and help with this internet installation for the kids?

  4. Suzanne

    A niece of mine was very cute at nine months of age, learning on her Daddy’s knee the co-relation between a mouse and the thigamajig on a computer screen. Then came the time for her to learn to write her name on a piece of paper with a fat crayon: she could not but boy could she type it. The parents had to restrict her access to computers until she learned how to write. I mean, signing one’s name is still a requirement even of computer based systems. No doubt this technology is important and the skills learned a way to make the children of the future in Norwalk competitive: but, they will not teach how to write, reason or comprehend basic skills our hands and brains know how to do and are necessary in future endeavors. One technology cannot cancel out the other but surely both together, being taught together, would be a bang up solution. And, we all know what happens when these computer based systems malfunction – will the ninety percent of the time these gizmos are being used to teach then be supplanted by any other type of learning? It seems like a reality break – the educational testing scores are so low in this town, incarceration rates are counted as a triumph, and, yet, instead of teaching usable skills, Norwalk is bouncing off to the latest technology like these kids don’t have psycho-social needs that require a different kind of learning that these tablets will not fix.

  5. Oldtimer

    Chromebooks sound like a great idea if the teachers and the course material are ready to take full advantage of the possibilities. We may be surprised how well the kids adapt. Hopefully, there will be some way to teach basic spelling and grammar without the computer making automatic corrections and making learning how to spell seem unnecessary.
    It seems like a very long way from the pencils and yellow paper we used.

  6. Message to the SOS crew

    Taking a moment to reflect, we indeed have come a long way baby. When a few local dedicated activist made it a mission to right NPS’s floundering ship the mission seemed nearly impossible.

    We have gone through allot,as a community, the staff, and BOE.
    We lost some good folks in the process and we, together, rid the district of some dead wood. We rocked the boat and rocked some folks world.

    It was an extremely worthy and vitally important mission as we all knew and we took no prisoners. We packed city hall when we had to and we changed and made laws.

    We have accomplished much and come a long, long way from the stagnant dead in the water row boat with a bad leak and a broken oar. Like the engineers involved with the Costa Concordia, together we par buckled our stranded ship.
    Together, we are actually righting our ship, we are headed to a place where we can be proud of our accomplishments and our district and even be a model for other struggling districts around the country.

    A mind, even one mind is indeed a terrible asset to waste and we were stuck in a dark place that many kids and parents and even teachers had lost hope. Violence skyrocketed as many lost faith in the system that had cast them a drift altogether. Our local rep Larry expelled every kid that came his way, as expulsion officer, if they were a minority, rather than work with a struggling child in need.
    It was the norm, it isn’t any longer. There is a law against that now.

    While going through this enormous transition process we had to endure a double whammy with BET slamming the districts budget, year after year after year and getting away with it. Some seem to think that dirt and some rating by crooked corrupt credit rating agencies is more valuable than a child’s future and in turn the community’s and society’s future. A perfect example how education has failed over the generations.

    We are all in this boat together sink or sail. Many have succumb to the corporate noise, really propaganda and are falling into the no where abyss trap of,
    ‘its us against them’. Rich against the poor and struggling. Race against race. Faith against faith. It’s a proven concept, divide and conquer. Some use this strategy to gain even more power and more wealth. And with out an educated society able to seek answers, to question, to pay attention, democracy flounders, as we are floundering today, as a nation.

    We have to rise above the noise of separatism promoted by fanatical segments with ulterior motives.There is a reason why we call our selves the UNITED States. Many have lost that ideal. The Constitution is not some centuries old comatose set in stone ten commandments.The Constitution is a living breathing idea in all of us, a guide that is designed to be flexible and adapt to a changing society.

    Much of what we see happening in DC, our district just endured. The partisanship, the mudslinging, the playground bullying and fights and yes the showmanship and grandstanding. The world is full of clueless clowns that love attention and always make the most noise and hollar the loudest about things they have no little to nil understanding of and are not on a higher plane of intelligence, of open mindedness to entertain and explore other schools of thought. Racism is still an issue we are working on. Tolerance is another. We all know a few of these boisterous repunant types in public and in our private lives, don’t we? They are everywhere.

    The process and obvious lack of pr skills in which the current BOE selected our current Superintendent was mishandled poorly. The whole pr aspect appeared to be a foreign concept to some council members. There are better ways, more tactful ways to conduct the process and still be transparent and protect an applicants request for privacy. Running a public entity is not the same as running a business. It repeatedly amazes that some still run on that platform. Some just don’t get it and missed the memo over and over and over.

    No, doesn’t matter if you were Immelts right hand person,
    that does not prepare for the uncompensated responsibility and duty running a public entity, especially one of such critical priority as education. All the chatter about stagnant real estate well, duh, disintergratig schools do not attract home buyers or desirable business’s.

    Don’t want even go there, its truly astounding how some are proud of their ignorance and biasness and tout it at every opportunity and if there isn’t an opportunity they manufacture one. They make the argument for expanded investments in education all by themselves.

    All that said, in perhaps too much detail, Dr. Rivera has hit the ground running. This guy has the juice and knows what it takes to get where we want to be. He has moved swiftly to restructure his staff and defined responsibilities for each position, a basic administrative structure that has, for the most part, been non existent and a point of contention as many lawsuits and inquiry’s have proven and documented time and time again. How many times did we hear “its not in the job desription? Dr Rivera knew what was and what wasn’t getting done and how things should be done. Fisrt thing he did was get NHS cleaned up. A simple but significant task that has been neglected like so much for far too long.

    He has stepped up to the plate immediately working to bring the district up to par in curriculum and technology, areas the district has struggled to integrate and update. In the not to distant horizon we can see arts and performing arts coming back strong, as its a given Dr. Rivera is aware of the importance of community participation and unity and the criteria in instilling self confidence in the student and building confidence in the community. Regular rotating school broadcasts, run completely by students for students can be up and running at little to no costs.

    There is more than hope now for students coming up through the district, there is now action. Real tangible action to reach out to every student and help them find there paths. Excite the mind, stimulate creativity and expand problem solving skills.

    We have lost, forever, far too many. We cant, we wont loose more.

    That concept/declaration was the basis of the mission for the original SOS crew.

    There is nothing more personal nor of higher importance to a parent or teacher than giving a kid a chance and the basic tools to chase that opportunity and catch it.

    We are not there yet but we are certainly, finally, on a true course for success. The current BOE and any future BOE council members need to stand down and give Dr Rivera the elbow room and support he needs to get us in top gear and keep us there.

    The district finally has a leader and a quality administrator and although, to many of us, he looked too expensive for unknown quality, especially after so much was spent on seat warmers investing in yachts and lifetime golf club memberships
    in Florida, well it was fair to be skeptical, especially, again, not having any real exposure to the applicant hidden behind the curtain.

    However, if Dr. Rivera continues his superior efforts to get us updated technologically and administratively and keeps burning the nitrous, he is worth every cent and then some.

    But he has his tasks cut out for him. Long as he continues to take the bull by the horns and ignore any noise that may arise, our district, our ship can and will sail brilliantly with pride and accomplishment on a course of true north to brighter futures for all our children regardless of race, creed and yes even socio economic chalenges.

    Any wagers on Dr. Rivera securing that 20 milllion from RTT this time round?

    My money is on Manny.
    Manny, welcome home, sir.
    Swing for the fence’s.
    Do it, to it.
    Rock and roll.
    Lets get a dancing and burn some rubber.

    This goes out to all the undercover superheros,
    that didn’t relent no matter the odds.
    You know who you are.

    Nice work peeps…
    Ya’ all rock.
    You made a real difference.

    Mission Possible !!

    beautiful day

    a peek behind scene of the sweat and tears and hard work
    and ultimately what team work can accomplish.

    because you didn’t stop, yesterday is really gone, forever..

    rock on…..

  7. Skruuball

    These Chromebooks are really a niche device. Look into them. I wonder if this is the right forum. Perhaps for testing purposes however I would not purchase another one. AHH, but I am as a tax payer.

  8. Farhan Memon

    I’m surprised that the District is buying Chrome books. Most school districts are investing in iPads since there is a lot of courseware available for those devices.

    Valenzisi speaks of these devices running flash. Most people who follow technology now agree that Flash is dying. For example, the latest version of Android 4.3 (jelly bean) — also made be Google — doesn’t support Flash.

    Also note that the Los Angeles School District has purchased 30,000 iPads. Although they are having issues with their security software the fact that they’ve conduct due diligence on this platform should signal that that’s what is becoming the educational standard.

    The Chrome book is a niche device and it is uncertain whether Google will support it over the longterm. In contract the iPad ecosystem is just going to grow.

  9. jlightfield

    Let’s stop making assumptions about the utility of these tech tools as a capital investment. They are not. They are designed to be replaced on a yearly or every two year cycle and are not designed to be cost effectively repaired. In terms of a platform they are fine and will perform adequately. However, Flash is a resource intensive application platform and is problematic which is why even abobe has embraced responsive design via HTML5. That Ralph would cite support for Flash on a Chromebook is a troubling sign of someone not savvy with where Ed tech has moved further no one who has ever successfully designed a real time testing wifi based network would ever say it will not crash. Technology crashes, IT expects it, plans for it and engages work arounds. Hopefully Ralph was misquoted. And more hopefully the Common Council asked to see the deployment plan and how chrome books are being assigned and tracked. Lastly, the LA Unified schools opted for iPads since lesson plans were geared towards content creation rather than a sole focus on testing.

  10. David

    I think there are some important factors to consider:
    1) Common core requires on-line testing. The testing process isn’t the same as what students go through now – a common test with the same questions for everyone. There are different paths each student can take based on their answers.
    2) Chromebook (CB) vs. iPad needs to be put into the context of what’s needed for Common Core. Students don’t need storage on the device, they don’t need apps. They need on-line connectivity. The cheapest iPad mini sells for $329, the cheapest CB sells for $249.
    3) Use of a computer isn’t meant to supplant fundamental learning techniques, rather, support it with online education modules. At the same time, access to technology is important and it can’t be limited to only those who can afford it.

  11. Tim T

    What a joke
    Chromebooks are a toy and not industry standard in any real business. Would it not make sense to teach children on a windows based computer as that it what they will be using in the real world.

  12. Mark Chapman

    Here are some links to informative articles about the iPad vs. Chromebook. It is not as cut-and-dried as some of these comments portray. It is, from what I can see (and I am NOT anything close to a computer expert), a matter of which functionalities are most important for planned use, measured alongside price, which includes tech support, etc. Check these out:




  13. Tim T

    May as well just tell the Kids to bring their Android cell phone to school as that is all a Chromebooks is.

  14. Don’t Panic

    I don’t know. Seems like $400k would buy an awful lot of books. Thin client terminals would have the same scaled down functionality and would not have to be replaced every year or two like these will need to be. And that’s not counting the wear and tear these are bound to be subjected to.

  15. For some reason people here seem to think that our entire educational program consists of purchasing Chromebooks. This is an essential component of our conversion to the Common Core and Core-based testing, but it is a small component of our overall educational improvement efforts. Regarding some comments above:
    “instead of teaching usable skills, Norwalk is bouncing off to the latest technology” — we are implementing the entire Common Core curriculum, which is a fundamental change in educational strategy, emphasizing deep study of key concepts in math, English and other subjects. Would it be better if we simply ignored new technologies and stayed in 1950’s mode indefinitely?
    “Hopefully, there will be some way to teach basic spelling and grammar without the computer making automatic corrections and making learning how to spell seem unnecessary.” — Part of our curriculum planning includes mandating that children can effectively use cursive writing, not just keyboards, and that they learn basic skills such as spelling and, believe it or not, times tables. We do not view these technologies as crutches designed to allow children to graduate with smart phones and dumb brains. But they are valuable tools to enhance learning.
    “That Ralph would cite support for Flash on a Chromebook is a troubling sign of someone not savvy with where Ed tech has moved” — I make no pretense of being a techie on this stuff, but Forbes reports that thousands of schools are adopting Chromebooks and that they are increasing their market share. Maybe they’re all wrong, but with so many systems adopting Chromebooks I’m not ready to jump to the conclusion that this is a bad move. If the links noted above by Mark Chapman have any accuracy to them, there are good arguments to be made on both sides.
    “Would it not make sense to teach children on a windows based computer as that it what they will be using in the real world.” — Yes — and they will be. Valenzizi only mentioned this briefly, but we will still have hundreds of Windows and Mac machines in use in our schools after beginning use of the Chromebooks. He noted that standard business software like MS Office runs better on PCs, and students will continue to use PCs for that purpose. Likewise, art and graphics programs run better on Macs and we will continue to use Macs. The Chromebooks will vastly expand availability of the web to our children (and will work with various programs for assessment and testing integral to successful implementation of the Common Core). But they are not expected to be a total solution.
    “Seems like $400k would buy an awful lot of books.” — We are in the process of purchasing over $3 million of Common Core-based textbooks over the next 18 months, most of which have web-based aspects (with the texts themselves, workbooks, practice tests, etc., accessible over the web). We are not even close to abandoning textbooks; but we want to enhance those textbooks, and improved classroom teaching, with appropriate use of technology.

  16. More of the Same

    “I actually sit on the national advisory committee for Microsoft for K-12 education,”
    Link please. Surely such a reputable, distinguished advisory panel on technology would have a website. So where is it?

    Where is the link to this famous advisory panel?

    Maybe your uncle knows where it is?

  17. Don’t Panic

    The test is and always will be how well the students are learning without these incremental improvements. If you aren’t able to teach “1950s” style, then no gadgets are going to improve on that.
    What do the teachers think? Are they on board with having to modify their lesson plans to accomodate these devices?

  18. The teachers’ lesson plans must be modified to accommodate the Common Core (which is a state mandate). The Chromepads (or any other device like iPads) are to be used with the Computer Adaptive Testing also required by the State (which will replace the paper CMT and CAPT tests) as part of Common Core implementation. Norwalk is ahead of the curve on this (we want to get it in place in 2014, ahead of the 2015 deadline), but it is a mandate; there is no issue with getting “on board” — its the law.

  19. Suzanne

    I guess the disconnect is this: basic skills are not being learned by our students as reflected in the NPS test scores, their comparison to state scores and the truly deplorable low standard they represent. So, instead of the 3R’s with art and music and good athletic programs, we are getting computers to comply with State mandated testing and the “Common Core” requirements. Our public libraries have computers with commonly used software. E-mail and texting is also commonplace. It is the rare child who does not know how to use this technology already: and, if not, there are other places in the community to learn it. There is no way this supplants the fundamentals and just seems to make the process of learning them more confusing in order for Norwark to be “ahead of the curve.” So, however these “books” are being implemented, the entire thing makes me nervous because, not being a luddite about all things technological but very familiar with it, I have great reservations about their effectiveness and economy. At this point, they have been purchased and everyone seems excited about this innovation: I say, prove it. Prove that these expensive, questionable as to community and commerce technology standard, can dramatically increase the learning curve for Norwalk’s kids. Because, after all, this is what it is about, yes?

  20. More of the Same

    Suzanne, the only way this investment will ever be effective is with software that allows each child to progress at his or her own pace with learning. More likely it is only going to lead to a recurring expense and a bloated staff to manage it. Were nepotism not at play here we might have more confidence, but alas this is just more of the same. These guys have made careers and a lot of money convincing others they have the right plan. God help our children they are right. Frankly, I fail to see how this helps children to learn unless we break the shackles that are in place that teaches to the lowest common denominator.

  21. More of the Same

    I’d be less skeptical of the decision for chrome books if the appeal wasn’t underscored by some phony membership on an advisory council on technology that doesn’t even have its own website. I beg of the BOE to very carefully examine the relationships of the purchasers and the vendors at play here. You are being played.

  22. David

    I think there’s some confusion about the scope of this project. These devices NEED to be purchased in order to comply with common core requirements. Now, you can argue as to whether Common Core is the right system to have in place, but that’s a different argument for a different day.
    The state signed on to Common Core. It needs to be implemented. As Mike Lyons pointed out, it’s the law. The technology aspect allows continuous adaptive testing (ie., adaptive to the individual student, not the generic) and access to online modules.
    The question as to which mobile device to use is a valid one, but Chromebooks are more than adequate, in my opinion. They have Flash memory drives which means less moving parts that can break, they are cheaper and the device can be managed centrally. Google has pricing specially for the education market.
    One of the major points of Common Core is that it uses adaptive testing, which means it doesn’t teach to the “lowest common denominator”, as someone said. Every student eventually “fails” a test, but the question is when. So a 5th grader can “grade out” at a 5th grade level, where they should be, or a 4th or 6th grade level.

  23. Don’t Panic

    Thanks David. That is helpful information to have.

  24. More of the Same

    Adaptive testing procedures are great. Could be done from any of the 1000s of hard wired computers we have already bought. I guess Norwalk is so rich we can be on the bleeding edge of advice from a music major who with every step seems to be unqualified for the job. It looks like the lesson of hiring based on nepotism is going to cost us a lot more than just $175k per year. This comment will probably generate some reply that it is a state mandate, therefore we have to and we must blindly follow as opposed to doing what is right for our community and our children. Grow a pair and countersue the state for lack of ECS funding if they dare impose their will on us.

  25. David

    In the past, you could have hundreds of students take an exam at the same time because they only needed a pencil and the papers the exam was printed on. The exam started and ended at a specific time. It was easy. It was also flawed, of course, but it was easy.
    The logistical issues now range from approx 400 students in an elementary school to approx 1600 in high schools, getting access to computers to perform adaptive testing in front of fixed computer banks. The Common Core programs also come with online modules for continuous learning, so the logistics would be an issue throughout the year, for all students. That’s the reason why existing fixed computer banks just won’t do the job. They are not accessible on a continuous basis.
    I’ll say this, I see many posts on educational matters that talk about making kids the focus. It should be all about the kids. Common Core is about the kids. The program is better, the math more rigorous. There is greater transparency in the program and the learning process is tailored to the individual, not the collective. This is a net positive for our children. This is EXACTLY what we should be doing and doing it properly when we talk about improving education in the city of Norwalk.
    The technology portion of this program is not some boondoggle, it’s a net positive for the kids, teachers and parents. It gives greater access to the program and allows for continuous feedback on progress. Yes, implementing Common Core is the law, could Norwalk have gone with a program that has no technology component? Could it just ignore the online learning aspect? Perhaps. But does anyone really think that would make the school system better, or give our students a better chance to succeed when they leave school? I cannot accept that in 2013, that would be the case.
    “More…”, I know you have a problem with the technology director, but this isn’t something new that he’s implementing. The needs of the technology portion for Common Core has been known about before Mr. Rivera even came on board. It’s been presented in prior BOE meetings, it’s been brought up in the budgetary process. This may be the first time you’ve heard about it, or NoN has reported it, but it’s not some state secret, not to anyone who’s taken an interest in education in this city, anyway.

  26. David

    p.s., sorry for the “Mike Mushak” length replies! I have children in Norwalk public schools, so I take this matter extremely serious, as all parents do, I’m sure.

  27. Don’t Panic

    Is there data that backs up the effectiveness of this tech-based approach?

  28. More of the Same

    David. The intentions are always well meaning, but time and time again we learn that the fox is guarding the hen house when it comes to our kids.
    That the applicant didn’t feel the need to disclose his relative is the city’s executive really, really stinks. That the BOE decided a music major could fill the role of an IT executive without formal technological education or meaningful certification is very, very questionable. That his comments on the selection of technology are easily challenged should cause everyone to pause before we run off the cliff blindly. That those in charge say don’t worry and shut up…….makes me and a whole lot of people I know worry.
    And before you tell me his prior work experience qualifies him for this position, ask yourself if each and everyone of his past jobs wasn’t awarded on the basis of his connections first.

  29. More of the Same

    “I actually sit on the national advisory committee for Microsoft for K-12 education,”

    Can anyone find the website or info on this org? Does it bother anyone that this organization has zero web based presence given what the topic is here?

  30. David

    I’ve no time for circular arguments. If you have a specific, focused rebuttal regarding either the selection of the technology or the Common Core program itself, make it. If it’s about the person presenting the message (Valenzisi in this case), there’s a thread for that, here’s a quick link:

  31. More of the Same

    Yep David, just shut up and believe everything you read like a good little soldier. Keep writing blank checks and hopefully one will turn out ok.

  32. David

    No, I’m not going to accept that. I AM educated in this subject, between you and I, I’m the only one posting actual information about the Common Core program, why it is important, how it distinguishes itself from prior education programs and why the technology component is necessary. I actually posted facts to support the decision and I learned those facts before NoN or any other news media reported on them.
    I’ll say it again, if you have any specific, focused comments on the program itself, then please post them. The fact that I don’t buy into hysterical conspiracy theories does not make me a “good little soldier”. It makes me reasoned, logical and informed. Thank you.

  33. More of the Same

    David, life doesn’t follow text book theory. The human element has to be factored in. Has anyone bothered to factor in the learning curve required for our teachers and students to use these devices, for example? Where is the pilot program? You may agree with the framework of CC and it may indeed prove to work out better than what we’ve had. Given the lumps this school system has taken it seems a little foolish to be running downhill so quickly on all of this. A hush, hush deal to hire the mayor’s nephew who has zero academic qualifications for a $175k/yr job and now we are going to drop a cool half a million on technology that could be obsolete by the time our teachers and students get up to speed on it. Not to mention the time it will take away from their core learning.

  34. David

    Again, to bring some facts into the discussion – Common Core is already in our schools. Those students currently in first grade have only known the Common Core curriculum. “Go Math” is the math program being used all across the Norwalk school system. This is actually happening. Now, the transition is hard, but there is a transition team within the Public schools who has been very active in working with teachers on this. It is tough, from what I hear – more time and more funding would be great but neither are a luxury we have right now. The state mandates that CC be implemented by 2015 and I think it’s a credit to Norwalk – everyone, teachers, politicians, parents – that we’re actively rolling this out in an organized manner. This reflects very well on our schools and our city.
    Since the teaching tools are web based, and the Chromebooks are essentially just a portable browser, the learning curve will not be device dependent (in this case, anyway). Teachers, students and parents will have to learn how the web sites work, of course, but that’s actually happening.

  35. More of the Same

    So the relationship, the salary, the rush to hire, the lack of academic credential…are not facts.
    But, your opinion, that the transition team is very active is a fact. Ok.

  36. David

    That has nothing to do with Common Core, it has nothing to do with a program that helps our children. I said it before, I’ll say it again: There’s a forum for bashing one man. You want to make it personal, please, post here: https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/09/rivera-new-it-chiefs-connection-to-moccia-no-factor-in-hiring/
    The facts I relay are about Common core. That program is about more than one person and it has been an initiative this city has been involved with since before Mr. Rivera came on board.

  37. @Jackie
    Artie Kassimis asked why a Chromebook over an iPad?
    Ralph Valenzisi replied, “The reason that you usually want to go to Chromebook is Flash. The ability to not have everything running off on HTML 5 in order for it to work off of an iPad. Sometimes it’s a deterrent. It is definitely a deterrent. The Smarter Balance piece, as we try to deliver that, but there are times when I can use my own kids as an example, or other students, when you can get onto a Chrome browser on an iPad and a lot of what you can normally do you can also do on an iPad. So the idea of sharing documents and those pieces will work but certain types of animation and video and programs may not. So Chrome does offer more versatility for students to be able to have access to different types of programs.”

  38. Mike Lyons

    David, thanks for your intelligent posts explaining what’s going on with the Chromebooks and Common Core.

  39. bgibson135

    “The network will not crash…” is like saying, “the Titanic is unsinkable.” Everything in the computer-world says, “the network will crash, but with enough contingencies, the loss of time, effort and data will hopefully be minimal. You are using the a Google account and a Chrome browser as interface. That means that if you have the Chrome browser installed on a PC, you can go there and it should have most of the plugins you’ve added to your Chromebook. If the Chromebook is damaged, lost or stolen, you can get another one and all your content, saved to the Cloud, becomes available on the new system.

    I have a Samsung Chromebook and have been happy with it. You can connect it via a standard HDMI cable to a flat-screen TV and you then have a dual monitor system. You can watch video on the TV while taking notes or checking email on the Chromebook’s monitor. You can use the “Chrome Remote Desktop” to use programs running on a PC, so you don’t have to throw away those old PCs yet. Hook ’em up to the network and access them remotely with your Chromebook.

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