We have had quite a few questions about our 1:1 Chromebook Rollout. We currently have Chromebooks in Year 10 and Year 12 and plan to issue to these two year groups again next September to give us total coverage of all students in Key Stage 4 and 5 (around 750 machines). Here are some the common questions:
Why did you pick Chromebooks?
The key reasons for selecting these were:
- Cost – the price was significantly below other devices (iPad etc..) – we as a school met the whole cost and did not pass this on to students. Those who want to take their Chromebook home have paid a £40 deposit, but this is returnable when the student leaves. Ever6 / FSM students do not have to pay the deposit.
- Compatibility – Documents created in Google Drive could be opened on any other device, so this would be compatible with our existing staff laptops and desktops.
- Existing ICT – We already had very high use of Frog (our VLE) and Googgle Apps had been in use for around a year before the first Chromebooks were issued.
- Ease of Set Up – the initial set up is very easy (open box, log in) – so we could issue a lot very quickly – the first 130 were issued in an hour by one person to the whole of Year 12. We can also switch Chromebooks very quickly.
- Quick Boot Time – teachers can ask a class to turn them on and off as required – quick boot time means you are not waiting around in lessons. Our previous 1:1 Laptop programme in Sixth Form had huge issues with this – some machines were 10 minutes+ to log in.
What issues did you encounter?
- Year 12 were issued with minimal training and although the students did pick up their use very quickly – we decided to do 2 hours of training with Year 10 students on the same day they were issued and stagger this rollout to two classes a day (so it took us five days to complete).
- Screen Breakages – early on we had some screen damage (mostly caused by students lifting the Chromebook by the screen). We can replace screen in house and some training with students is reducing this issue.
- Use in lesson – use in lesson still varies between subject and staff and we continue to monitor this and encourage use through staff training and sharing of good practice. For details on their use see the full Chromebook Survey.
- Compatibility Issues – we occasionally get issues when staff issue MS Word Documents / PowerPoints – which don’t always format the same in Google Drive.
What machines did you issue?
- So far Year 12 and Year 10 have the original Samsung Chromebook.
- We have recently taken delivery of 60 Samsung Chromebook 2 (which seems to be a more sturdy machine) to be used by students in cover lessons when staff are absent. It is likely that we will use this machine in future.
- Our machines are supplied by C-Learning.
Are you worried that students are not writing?
- So far we have not seen any evidence that this has happened. We have not removed exercise books in any subjects – in lesson the Chromebook is more a replacement for a textbook (as a source of information) than an exercise book.
What about Printing?
- We have deliberately not installed a cloud print server in school – so the Chromebooks cannot print. We want to encourage electronic sharing of work rather than printing. If a student needs to print they can go along to a computer room or the libary and print off their work – this additional effort has reduced student printing.