Chromebooks now make up around 64% of the education market across the globe, with many countries moving to a 1-1 device per-pupil model.
No one can deny the learning environment has evolved significantly over the last 8 months. Where schools are looking to quickly find solutions to remote working and teaching, that is cost-effective, easy to manage and allow the enhanced teacher and learning opportunities, teachers look to Chromebooks as their go-to device.
What is a Chromebook?
Google says Chromebooks are “A range of simple yet powerful devices with built-in accessibility and security features to deepen classroom connections and keep user information safe.” Add to that the speed of loading, the low total cost of ownership and easy device management, it is no wonder more and more schools are looking to bring these devices into their classrooms.
A range of devices
Chromebooks come in a range of shapes and sizes, from standalone tablets, mid specification laptops, right up to £1000 convertible touchscreens with i7 processors and everything in between.
The education market has a vast range of cost-effective devices, often under £200, which allow students to quickly get on with their learning. Spend just a fraction more and pupils get access to touchscreen convertibles with a stylus, which opens up another avenue for activities.
These devices are rugged, built for education and can be managed centrally to ensure any safeguarding issues are quickly dealt with.
Chromebooks include accessibility right out of the box, unlocking learning experiences for students with diverse needs, abilities and learning styles. Built-in settings and easy-to-use apps and extensions help customise the learning experience to include and engage every student.
Some examples of built-in Chromebook accessibility features include:
- Built-in Screen Reader
- Screen Magnify
- Increase in size
- High Contrast Mode
- Select to Speak
- Braille support
Chromebooks use the principle of “defence in depth” to provide multiple layers of protection, so if any layer is bypassed, others are still in effect. So while it’s still important to take precautions to protect your data, Chromebooks let you breathe just a little bit easier. Your Chromebook has the following security features built-in:
- Automatic updates
- Verified Boot
- Data Encryption
- Recovery Mode
Most Chromebooks now receive software updates for many years into the future, meaning they should last. When coupled with the easy deployment via PrimaryTech’s services, these devices arrive at school fully configured, with the latest updates and all recommended settings already installed.
Chromebooks turn on in 8 seconds, can provide hours of use from just a 30 minute charge, and has a battery that will last all day. Resulting in less teacher time spent troubleshooting issues and more time teaching and learning. Many ageing devices currently in schools are ineffective, take an age to load up, stutter over login screens, and do not have great battery life. This often puts teachers off using technology in the curriculum. We see Chromebooks transforming schools IT use and becoming woven in through all departments.
Easy Device Management
As an IT admin for a business or school, you can manage Chromebooks and other Chrome devices, from a cloud-based admin console. It’s possible to enforce policies, set up Chrome features for users, provide access to your internal VPNs and Wi-Fi networks, force install Chrome apps and extensions, and tonnes more. PrimaryTech is a Google Partner with years of experience of managing 1000s of devices across a range of settings, and often run training courses to assist schools to get the best from their admin console set up.
Devices that are enrolled can be managed via the push of a button, again allowing teachers and administrators more time to support the learning, rather than dealing with connectivity issues!
Teaching and Learning
Now we have cost-effective devices, with all-day battery life, effective security features and all logged-in after just 8 seconds, what can you do?
Google Classroom and Google Workspace provide opportunities to enhance teaching and learning through collaboration tools, apps and extensions, scheduled work setting, auto marking and lots more. In school, at home, or on the go, learning can take place using Google Workspace for Education (formally G Suite) and with tons of other educational web-based applications or content.
Our Digital Education Support services include lesson plans, ideas and resources for teachers, alongside an adoption program and digital strategy to help pupils get the best from these new devices. You also get access to a dedicated help desk specifically for the use of technology.
Take a look at the Chromebook App Hub as an example of the new kinds of applications users can leverage on their new devices.
Another way schools are smart with their budgets is by leasing these devices via a government-approved operational leasing scheme. This allows the school to get more devices for pupils, as the cost is spread over a term suitable for their budgets. With no huge outlay, and a warranty to cover any issues, this means that a school can refresh devices every 3 years, without spending more money than they already budgeted. By using a lease program, schools are not committed to devices over a period of 5 years or even 6-7 years in some cases, that after a time, simply give up and get locked in a cupboard.
Many schools facilitate parental leases too, to offer 1:1 device ratio, and the children can keep their devices. Some lease companies also do their bit and send the older devices off to countries in need.
If you are considering Google devices and tools for your school, get in touch. We are always happy to offer a free technology audit to help you further understand what you have, what you can still use, how best to use the tools and what it might cost long term to transition.
Head of Customer Success & former teacher
Published: October 22