Dr. Pryor emailed me back and shared some results from the many needs analyses he did. In addition to preliminary surveys, he visited each school in our district. At the schools, he met with the admin, the media specialist, a teacher focus group, and a student focus group. He met with each group separately, getting their input on the next student device. He even sent me a word cloud from the responses he received.
The two devices he has chosen to pilot are the HP Chromebook 11A G6 and the Lenovo 100e 2nd Gen. From what I can see, both have 4 GB of memory, but the Lenovo has 32GB of storage while the HP only has 16GB. I'm trying to be impartial, but I recognize that I am somewhat biased on multiple fronts. At home, we use Macs and Lenovos, so I have a brand bias already. Also, since our current student device is an HP, I don't really want another one. We've had so, so many repair issues. They really did seem to be an inferior product. That being said, the new HP passed around at our meeting definitely felt more rugged, but I did think the workmanship and quality of the Lenovo appeared to be better. Those are just initial impressions. The real tests will come once they are in the hands of my middle schoolers.
The snap-on cases for both devices have rubberized corners and have comparable price points in the $22-$23 range. The interesting thing is that Dr. Pryor is including the cases in the RFP. He will gather more input from stakeholders to determine if we will keep our current model of the case following the child. He likes the idea that the kids could personalize them, add stickers, etc., but replacement costs were a bigger issue than anticipated the last go round, so there is a discussion about whether or not the district should replace the cases each year. This option sounds great, but needs to be looked at with a long-range view. I would be worried that the district would not be able to sustain that expense and it would be passed on to the schools. Our high schools could probably manage it, but my little middle school could not carry that kind of expense!