Wednesday, July 3, 2013

910 Chromebooks

My district recently purchased 910 Chromebooks (26 class sets of 35) for students in third through eighth grade at our four schools.  This is a fundamental shift for the district in student use of technology.  Previously, we operated with a computer lab model where students came to the lab and worked on projects.  This shift to portable labs will allow students more contact time with technology and allow teachers to doing things differently.  The Chromebook provides a cost effective way to put more technology in the hands of students and allow them to create and collaborate.

Why Chromebooks?

At the end of the 2012-13 school year, we had a technology showcase to get the input from teachers regarding future purchases.  Technology was grouped into two categories; teacher devices and student devices.  We asked teachers to look at the devices through the lens of a few different guiding questions (you can look at the document here).  We asked the teachers to do a paper out the door ranking of the devices and followed up with a Google Forms survey (copy of survey).  The data was very informative,

(1-5 scale, 1-very little, 5-a lot)
Samsung Tablet
iPad
Chromebook
Used by students
1.7
4.1
4.2
Training of teachers
2.3
1.9
2.4
Change from teacher
2.7
2.4
2.6
Excited about this device
2.1
4.1
4.4

One factor was the ability of students to create with the devices.  While iPads are great devices for consuming, they are not ideal for creating.  The final factor was cost.  The Chromebook's cost ($249) combined with the free Google Apps for Education along with centralized management ($30) and free cloud storage make it a very cost effective solution.

We are also very excited about what our students will be able to do when they have the devices in their hands.  Having had a demo unit in our house since May, I can attest that it was the right device.  My middle daughter has adopted it as her computer and uses it extensively to write.  She loves it so much I am going to reimburse the district for the computer and let her have it.

Setup and training

While we have not received the devices yet, I will be researching resources to assist in the setup and will be posting my experience when that occurs.

If you have any thoughts, resources, or experiences to share, please do.  I certainly don't want to reinvent the wheel!

Photo:  Stock photo from Samsung website (here)