BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield School District's Board of Education of Tuesday approved purchasing computers and equipment that will nearly double the number of computers in the district's elementary schools.
At the district board meeting at the Hanáádlí Community School/Dormitory, board members voted to purchase 328 Samsung Chromebook laptop computers and associated equipment for $100,097.
The computers will provide additional opportunities for classroom instruction and increase testing capacity to help with the upcoming changes in state testing over the next two to three years, said Chuck Culpepper, the district's director of curriculum and assessment.
"We'll put them in the classrooms where teachers and students can use them, and the testing will be secondary, almost incidental use," Culpepper said. "I want people banging on them every day."
By 2015, the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment test for grades 3 to 11 is transitioning to a new online test, which the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers will manage.
The 328 laptops will cost $81,672; 34 wireless Internet access points will be about $17,600 and 100 electrical power strips carry a price tag of $825. Computers will be distributed among the nearly 80 classrooms at Blanco, Central Primary and Naaba Ani elementary schools and the Bloomfield Early Childhood Center.
Culpepper said the Chromebooks were chosen because they are easy to use and should have a minimal effect on the district's IT department.
The computers operate as "Internet appliances," which use Google's Chrome operating system and are designed to be used to run applications based on the Internet.
Elementary students will use the computers for online research, enrichment courses and writing assignments, Culpepper said.
Janice Montoya, Hanáádlí Community School's executive director and principal, said she is happy the board of education held its meeting at the Bureau of Indian Affairs grant school, where students live while attending schools in the Bloomfield School District.
"I'm thankful for them being here because a lot of our students do attend there," Montoya said.