Students in Years 7-11 in all Canberra public high schools and colleges are to receive a laptop device in term one next year.
During a visit to Kingsford Smith School in Holt this morning, ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry announced that Datacom Systems AU has won the tender and will provide each student with an Acer Chromebook in early 2018.
The ACT will be the first Australian state or territory to provide laptop devices universally in public schools.
Ms Berry said that in many ways laptop devices are the “textbooks of today”.
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“This initiative will ensure every secondary student in Canberra public schools has the same access to a device to enhance their learning through technology,” Ms Berry said.
“Irrespective of family circumstances, every student will have an equal opportunity to access technology-based learning when and where they need it.
“With a single device as the standard across classes and schools it also means Canberra teachers don’t need to be experts in every platform or spend valuable lesson time trouble-shooting multiple devices.”
The 2017-18 ACT Budget set aside $17.2 million to “ensure that every public high school and college student has access to a device”.
Ms Berry said that Chromebook laptops had been selected because they will best align with existing ACT public school IT infrastructure.
“Students are already equipped with access to a specialised Google educational platform where they access a Google classroom and Google apps,” Ms Berry said.
“Chromebooks integrate seamlessly with these apps and will ensure all students are using a safe, secure and easily managed platform,” she said.
“In future years, Chromebooks will be provided to all new students at the start of every school year, meaning Canberra public secondary students will have up-to-date devices as they move through their schooling.”
Ms Berry said the Chromebooks rollout delivers on the ACT Government’s commitment during the 2016 election campaign to “bridge the equity gap by allocating all secondary students with a personal electronic device for learning”.
“Detailed information will soon be provided to parents to help with planning for next year,” Ms Berry said.
What do you think of this initiative? If you have a child in an ACT public secondary school do you think this will really benefit them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.