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Gering schools place emphasis on technology: New Chromebooks to be piloted at Gering High School
August 14, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Lionel Newberry

With the newly created position of Innovative Teaching and Learning Specialist, the Gering schools will be able to implement today’s technology into the learning experience.

“Our new superintendent has a vision to get more technology into the schools,” said Lionel Newberry, technology director for the district. “Eventually that means every student will be issued a Chromebook personal computer. For right now, we’re piloting them at the high school.”

The district has also transitioned into Gmail for its email server, which allows for use of all the Google apps. And Gmail works seamlessly with the new Chromebooks.

Over the past summer, Newberry has been busy getting the district’s computer servers up to the latest technology and copying all the files onto the new one.

“The thing that holds us back from complete PC usage is state testing,” Newberry said. “Until the state fully uses a web-based browser, we can’t get rid of computers. They need Shockwave and Flash and all the other support the Chromebook lacks.”

As part of upgrading and sharing the technology, the district has hired Elizabeth Still as the new Innovative Teaching and Learning Specialist. She’s created the Bulldog Bytes blog site to share technology, resources and other ideas with teachers and other staff.

Still has also created a simple template where teachers can create their own web page to keep students and parents updated on the class.

“Teaches can include pictures or video of what students are doing in class,” she said. “It will be a place where students and parents can keep track of what’s going on.”

Still said the blog will be a great resource for teachers. “We have about 150 teachers in the district and a lot of them will have the same questions,” she said. “I plan to make some tutorials, which will include video in some cases, to explain how to do things. And I’ll provide a link to any video that might be helpful because there’s no sense in recreating the wheel.”

She said educators have little time to begin with and must start relying on each other as a community and share resources.
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