2021 Technology Refresh

The ICCSD will be replacing all student Chromebooks, computer labs, and staff devices for the 2021-2022 school year

Features of the new Chromebooks include: a rear facing camera and a touch screen.

Courtesy of the 2021 Technology Refresh blog

Features of the new Chromebooks include: a rear facing camera and a touch screen.

Jesse Hausknecht-Brown, Executive Editor

The Iowa City Community School District is conducting a technology refresh for the 2021-2022 school year. This means that student Chromebooks will be replaced, the 1:1 initiative will be extended to K-12, and computer labs and staff devices will be replaced.

“The primary reason for the large-scale device refresh is the fact that the vast majority of our devices had reached the end of their lifecycle, which is four years for most district technology,” Adam Kurth, the ICCSD’s Director of Technology and Innovation, said. “Since about 80% of our device fleet was scheduled to be replaced anyhow, tackling the remaining 20% at the same time allows us to get everybody on the same device generation, which improves program equity, serviceability, and ease of deployment.”

The new Chromebooks will have up to date features such as a touch screen, rear facing camera, and a convertible form-factor, meaning that the computer can be folded over and used as a tablet.  

Kurth explains that the Chromebook that are currently in use are past their “support end-of-life” and are no longer eligible for Chrome OS updates.

“For example, many of our older devices – which we had to keep in service this past year, despite passing their lifecycle end, due to the pandemic requiring ICCSD to extend our 1:1 down to preschool – are unable to run the Itopia virtual application platform, and are unable to run some of our required testing plugins,” Kurth said.

The 2021 Technology Refresh blog states that it is “likely” that students enrolled in summer programming will receive their new computers before the end of this school year. The district is looking into distributing all new student Chromebooks in the spring or summer, but might have to wait until the fall.

“It’s important that all devices are current and able to receive security and operating system updates, and also to ensure that they can run all of the apps that we use,” Kurth said.