Frequently Asked Questions
Powerful Learning provides our students and staff with new and exciting educational opportunities. This page can help answer some of the most commonly asked questions. If you are not able to find the answer to your question, feel free to contact Shawn Brandt or Greg Pint.
What is a digital learning environment (DLE)?
A DLE is a student-centered framework where opportunities for learning and access to educational resources are available anytime, anywhere. We have named our DLE, Powerful Learning. Components include:
- 21st Century Skills - communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking
- Digital Curriculum - learning management system (Moodle), electronic resources, etc.
- Mobile Devices - wifi laptop or tablet with battery-life of 6+ hours (Chromebook)
- Personalized Learning - using an abundance of resources & assessment data to customize learning
It is important to understand that a successful DLE focuses on teaching and learning, not the technology. The device is a tool for education but the teacher facilitates the process and guides each student down their path of personalized learning. Successful DLE programs implement a number of different devices, use a variety of learning management systems, and collect data with a range of assessment applications; but all focus on student learning and applying best practices in teaching.
Why is a digital learning environment important?
A DLE creates learning opportunities for students that are simply not possible without anytime, anywhere access to the internet. For example, it creates opportunities for:
- Collaboration - Students are able to communicate and collaborate synchronously and asynchronously.
- More Timely Feedback - Digital assessments can provide immediate feedback to improve learning.
- Differentiation - It provides a variety of learning and teaching styles to meet students’ individual needs.
- Narrowing the Digital Divide - It provides equal technology opportunities for all students.
- Engaging all students in high levels of learning - Students can work at their own pace and ability.
What is a Chromebook and why was this device selected?
A Chromebook is a device used primarily for working with Internet-based resources. It is fast and light making it easy to use and carry. The device is relatively inexpensive compared to other technologies on the market, yet it is easy to support and manage. A Chromebook provides 6-8 hours of battery life and connects with Google Apps for Education which is commonly used by NPAS students and staff. The DLE research team reviewed, prioritized, and scored the following matrix to help determine which device best aligned with New Prague Area Schools' mission, vision, and values:
How do I submit payment for the annual Chromebook fee?
The link under Step 2 of the Distribution Process page provides specific instructions for registering & submitting payment using the FeePay system.
If a student owns their own device, do they have to use the Chromebook?
Yes, the District-issued Chromebook is the required device for classes at NPMS & NPHS. The same, standardized device allows teachers to design curriculum resources that will work for all students. It also allows us to monitor student use at school and manage applications that students will use for course work. Exceptions are made for students who need specific learning accommodations.
Will students use the same Chromebook each school year?
Yes, students will receive their Chromebooks at the beginning of the school year and return it at the end of the school year. After summer break, each student will be re-issued their same Chromebook.
Will students receive a case to protect their Chromebooks?
Yes, each student will receive a protective sleeve for their Chromebook. This protective sleeve must be used whenever the Chromebook is being transported or not in use.
Are students allowed to take their Chromebooks home?
Yes, students should take their Chromebooks home each night to access class resources, complete course work, and fully charge the battery. A DLE is most effective when it creates opportunities for learning and access to educational resources that are available anytime, anywhere.
Can I print from my Chromebook at home?
Yes, to print from a Chromebook, you will need a printer connected to your home computer. You will also need to setup your NP Google Account to work with Google Cloud Print. Go to the Official Google Cloud Print support page for more details.
My child is a full-time PSEO student, can he/she check out a Chromebook?
Full-time PSEO students are not required to check out a Chromebook, but we are offering the same opportunity. If your PSEO student would like a Chromebook, follow the same procedures and expectations outlined on the Powerful Learning website.
What are the expectations for students in a digital learning environment?
In a DLE, students are expected to comply with all school rules, policies, and teacher directives when using their Chromebooks. Expectations include, but are not limited to:
- Bring Daily - Students are expected to bring their Chromebooks to all classes, unless specifically advised not to do so by their teacher.
- Fully Charged - Students are responsible for fully charging their Chromebooks at home each night.
- Loaner Chromebooks - “Loaner” Chromebooks may be issued to students when their Chromebooks are being repaired at school. A limited number of loaner Chromebooks are available so a loaner cannot be guaranteed. Loaner devices will not be issued to students who forget to bring or charge their Chromebooks.
- Coursework Responsibility - If a student leaves their Chromebook at home or does not fully charge the device, he/she is responsible for completing the coursework as if the Chromebook were present.
- Responsible Use - Students are bound by the New Prague School District Internet Acceptable Use Policy (524) and all rules of this Digital Learning Agreement regardless of where they use their Chromebooks and regardless of the source of the Internet connection.
- End of the School Year - Chromebooks will be returned to the District at the end of each school year. Students will be issued the same Chromebook the following school year (3-year lease). The Chromebook and accessories must be in good working order when returned. If the Chromebook and accessories are not returned, the parent/guardian will be held responsible for payment in full.
What is the "Technology Use & Support Fee"?
The Technology Use & Support Fee provides students with technology hardware, infrastructure, support, and protection against damage, loss, or theft:
- $25 Annual Fee - Required payment must be made prior to the student receiving their Chromebook.
Note: There is a discounted fee ($10) for families who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Each occurrence of accidental damage is subject to a deductible payment.
- 1st Occurrence: $25 deductible
- 2nd Occurrence: $50 deductible
- 3rd Occurrence: $75 deductible
The above Annual Fee is a user fee only. Use of the District-issued Chromebook is a privilege and not a right. By implementing a Digital Learning Environment, and authorizing the use of District-owned Chromebooks, the District does not intend to relinquish control over the Chromebooks. Student users should not have any expectation of privacy in the content of files on the Chromebooks.
What should a student do if their Chromebook is broken or lost?
Report the damage/loss to your school media center immediately. Each occurrence of damage, loss, or theft is subject to a deductible payment or fine. Refer to the DLE Agreement Form or the Device Damaged or Lost? webpage for more details.
Will "loaner" Chromebooks be available for students?
“Loaner” Chromebooks may be issued to students when their Chromebooks are being repaired at school. A limited number of loaner Chromebooks are available so a loaner cannot be guaranteed. Loaner devices will not be issued to students who forget to bring or charge their Chromebooks. Refer to the DLE Agreement Form for more details.
Will inappropriate websites be filtered on the Chromebooks?
While on campus, student Chromebooks will connect with the District's internet content filter. The District filter blocks inappropriate content and helps assure safe websites. When off campus, student Chromebooks will not be filtered unless the family has installed an internet content filter. Families are encouraged to install an internet content filter at home for children of all ages. One popular and free resource is OpenDNS. Bevcomm and Comcast both offer parental controls as well. For additional information, review our home internet filter resource page.
What about students who do not have internet connection at home?
Similar to a laptop computer, a Chromebook has some offline functionality. For example, word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations can all be created and/or edited without an internet connection. NPAS school buses are equipped with wifi access points. District-owned Chromebooks are pre-configured with the wifi password. Free wifi is also available in many locations such as public libraries. Bevcomm and Comcast both offer special Internet pricing for families who qualify.
Is print, paper, and textbook curriculum going away?
Completely? - no. Our world is becoming more digital and less dependent on paper materials. Reducing paper and printing can produce a cost savings. NPAS is not mandating all curriculum become digital. By increasing students’ access to technology, teachers will be able to provide a wider range of curriculum materials from a variety of media.
Do teachers receive training for teaching with technology?
Yes, successful DLE programs implement sustained, year-round training opportunities. Our Technology and Staff Development teams work together to provide summer workshops, Staff Development Days, before/after school TIP Sessions, one-on-one coaching, and self-paced, online courses.
Is there research indicating that technology improves learning?
Yes, technology integration and 1-to-1 initiatives have been a part of the education community since the 1980’s. The internet, free resources, and increasingly more affordable mobile devices have made DLEs more common. Some research studies include: Project RED, eMINTS, The Maine Experience, Impact of One-to-One, Learning in a Digital World, and But Does it Work?