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Chromebook 1:1 Scheme

Chromebook 1:1 Scheme

Google Chromebook 1:1 Device Scheme 2020/21

Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School currently runs a scheme to enable 1:1 access to technology for its students. In common with a number of other schools, this scheme brings benefits to every student and enhances the educational experience that our students enjoy.

A 1:1 device scheme provides individual access to a digital device for each student in order to access the Internet, digital course materials and digital textbooks. 

This scheme has proved to be invaluable during the current coronavirus pandemic as it has allowed us to continue to provide online learning to our students efficiently through Google Classroom.  It has enabled us to support our students remotely through the setting of work, online assessment and the provision of feedback to keep them on track. 

We have been using Google Classroom successfully for over three years which, in conjunction with the full set of G-Suite apps, has improved the way students and staff communicate and collaborate across the school. We have invested in a new school-wide wireless network to allow students to use their own devices and also we have installed software which allows timetables and other information to be transferred digitally to students, providing relevant information at their fingertips.

The Chromebook Scheme was launched in 2018 and we now have over 450 students with access to a device for use in school and at home. We have realised the many opportunities the technology has opened up for research, collaboration and student engagement. This is why we are extending the scheme to our new Year 7 students in addition to those current students who do not have personal access to a device. 

Chromebooks help organise students' workload, support communication and provide better opportunities to continue their studies at home. Individual access to technology is not something that should happen in a few rooms in a school, it should be for everyone, everywhere and at any time. Young people are used to having access to the Internet at all times and school should not be an exception. We would like our students to have easy access to a wide range of high quality resources, wherever they are, and to study and research using their own initiative. 

What the scheme entails is the requirement for parents, where possible, to provide a Chromebook for their son or daughter to use at school. The school’s commitment is to maintain the ICT infrastructure, including maintenance of the network and to provide the necessary technical support and resources to ensure the scheme runs successfully. 

We would not wish any student to be excluded from the scheme on the grounds of cost and in cases of financial difficulty please contact Mr Graeme Lloyd (Finance Manager), in confidence, as assistance may be available - gll@queenelizabeths.kent.sch.uk

For parents of students in receipt of the Pupil Premium, financial support will be made available to cover the vast majority of the cost of the 1:1 Chromebook scheme.

In return for this investment, students would be provided with a new Google Chromebook for use at home and at school, a protective carry case, 3 year warranty, software and accidental damage insurance, in addition to a Google Management and E-safety license.  A full breakdown of the cost of the package can be found on the following page.  

Clearly this is a major part of our ICT provision by making more effective use of technology across all subjects and it does need the support of the vast majority of our parents to enable it to be effective. 

We believe this scheme provides a number of benefits for both students and parents. These include: 

  •  Easy student-teacher workflow within a safe environment
  •  Large numbers of computers that can be managed centrally
  •  Excellent collaboration tools
  •  Works seamlessly with Google Apps for Education
  •  Options for comprehensive insurance and warranty
  •  Choice of payment methods
  •  We can manage the devices securely, offering the best levels of online safety

Please contact us via chromebooks@queenelizabeths.kent.sch.uk if you have any further questions.

If you wish to place an order for a Google Chromebook through the scheme then please complete the Google Form (live from 28th June 2020) which will take you through the ordering process. We ask that orders are placed by 31st July to enable us to secure stock from the supplier. 

We have also included a specification page which details the device specification and also information regarding the warranty and insurance

Please see here for our virtual Chromebook presentation

WHY CHROMEBOOKS?

  • Less than 8 seconds to boot up
  • Long battery life
  • Simple technology
  • Easy student-teacher workflow
  • Large numbers of computers can be managed centrally
  • Excellent collaboration tools
  • Works seamlessly with Google Apps for Education and other cloud-based applications which all of our students and teachers already use extensively

The following are just a few examples of what students will do at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School:

  • Create, share and collaborate using Google G Suite for Education
  • Use subject related apps in the classroom and at home
  • Collaborative learning

WE ALREADY HAVE A DIFFERENT DEVICE, CAN MY CHILD USE THAT INSTEAD?

No. These are not fully compatible with the Google Apps and add-ons that we will be using for teaching and learning:

  • The battery may not last 6 hours on a single charge,
  • The computer may not bootup within 10 seconds from a closed lid,
  • The device will not be managed by the school and therefore will not be manageable as a class learning tool.

There are several issues with using other devices in school. From a schools perspective, there are two very important issues that make the Chromebook our device of choice.

The IT engineers can not support and fix multiple types of devices, nor can our teachers be expected to understand the different problems that they will present in the classroom. Chromebooks all operate in the same way. A Windows notebook operates differently from a Windows tablet, Microsoft Windows operating systems are very different and we could have devices operating various operating systems from XP to Windows 10, Android is very different from Apples operating systems and these vary from MacBook to IPad. For example, if a student is struggling to connect to the wifi during a lesson where you find the settings for this will be dependent on the device being used and different routes around the device operating system will need to be taken on each.

The other issue for us as a school is our responsibility to Safe Guarding and the Prevent Agenda. One of the apps we talk about is the Google Management Software. This needs to go on the Chromebook, we enroll the Chromebook on to our system. There are a few other devices that can be enrolled but not many. We need this software for security and management. This app allows us to manage the student device whilst in school. The other app we need to deploy is NetSupport. NetSupport monitors the device use in school and among other things logs incidents of inappropriate behaviour. A teacher can also use to manage a classroom of devices, they can share things with the student device, make sure they stay on task, push out resources, share screens and much more.

CAN WE HAVE DIFFERENT MODELS TO CHOOSE FROM?

Unfortunately no. In order to achieve the economies of scale with a manufacturer and make the scheme as affordable as possible we cannot offer a diverse choice of devices. We have limited the choice to one or two options because they are built for the school environment and include a 3 year warranty as standard.

WHAT IF MY CHILD ALREADY HAS A CHROMEBOOK?

With the agreement of their parents, students who currently own a Chromebook will be able to bring it to school and have it connected to the school network for a fee of £35 as long as it has a battery life of at least 6 hours. This fee is to pay for the cost of the Google management and the E-safety licence which allows the school to centrally add content and manage the device. Parents should also be aware that we will not be able to provide support for devices purchased outside our scheme.

DID YOU LOOK AT ALTERNATIVES BEFORE DECIDING TO USE CHROMEBOOKS?

Yes, very seriously. We have been running a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme in the sixth form for two years now so we see many devices being used creatively around the school. We've trialled ipads and had class sets of Windows laptops in the past. We learned that ipads are great tools for consuming media but they are not as good for creating content and allowing our students to work collaboratively. Whilst the range of applications available on iPads and Android is vast, many of the resources that teachers currently use in IT Suites would not be available.

We also looked at traditional Windows, Mac and Linux laptops. Although these devices are indeed more powerful, they are also more complex, more expensive and have poorer battery life. The simplicity of the Chromebook overcomes these barriers so that the focus will be on learning and can be instantly used in lessons when needed.

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