Anthro YES Cart with CTL Education Chromebooks. Photo by Frank Decker
Having worked with education and technology for over a decade, Frank Decker has a strong sense of what schools need to meet the challenge of implementing 1:1 e-learning and assessment. Before becoming the Executive Supervisor of Instructional Technology and Assessment for the Centennial School District in Oregon, Frank was a computer technology teacher for over 10 years in Vancouver, Washington’s Evergreen School District. He’s seen 1:1 e-learning through the eyes of a teacher who needs reliable equipment and an IT Director who needs manageability and optimal performance.
In his current position, Decker oversees the classroom technology for the Centennial School District, which covers an area of Southeastern Portland with a total enrollment of 6,400 students. He says his biggest challenges are time and resources. Decker is always looking for solutions that will help to streamline his workflow by being easy to deploy and maintain.
The district has been gradually implementing laptops and tablets into their classrooms for several years, often testing out the technology in just one or two classrooms at first. In the past, certain classrooms have deployed iPads or Samsung Chromebooks. When Decker came on board, he began evaluating a number of Chromebooks including HP, Acer and the CTL® Education Chromebook. After comparing products, Decker decided to go with the CTL® Education Chromebook. “I like the fact that the CTL® Education Chromebook was the only model at its price point to have a Quad Core Intel Processor.” “Also no other Chromebooks had the liquid resistant keyboard and rotating camera,” he added.
Another thing that has made CTL® a good fit for Centennial is the fact that CTL® is a partner of Anthro, the maker of the classroom charging carts being used in the district. Anthro, also a Portland, Oregon area business, is a leading manufacturer of office and computer desks and furniture including classroom tablet and laptop charging carts. Decker says the district has been happy with all the Anthro carts they’ve purchased in the past. Recently, they purchased the Anthro’s YES cart for mini-laptops (compatible with all Chromebooks up to a 13’’ screen and some 14’’). Because CTL® is an Anthro partner, the district was able to order both their Chromebooks and charging carts from CTL® making the transaction more efficient.
Decker likes the construction and features of the Anthro carts, for example, how the doors pop off to make the inside easily accessible. “I like the dividers and wire management that has the wires going through the divider with holes for zip ties. It’s easy to get the length correct on the cable and that helps the cables last longer because they are not being pinched, bumped around or stretched,” he said. “Anthro carts are competitively priced, well built and last a long time,” he added.
Looking forward, Decker foresees implementing many more CTL® Education Chromebooks throughout the Centennial School District. They are currently using 150 of the Chromebooks for the 2014-2015 school year and plan to deploy 1500 more of them in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms over the next three years, he said. “My experience with CTL® has been great,” he said, adding that he was very happy with how CTL® was able to have the district’s logo custom printed on the cover