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Chromebooks

Chromebooks

Our students’ daily lives are filled with technology and they are quick to embrace new developments. We want them to feel at ease in this rapidly changing climate.

We believe using Chromebooks will enable our pupils to become well-informed, responsible digital citizens and lifelong learners. All students at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School will have access to a Chromebook – either their own or one from the school’s pool for use in lesson time only.

Once our students have access to their own devices, we firmly believe the new scheme will bring enormous educational benefits, and hope parents will get behind this ground-breaking initiative.

We must stress, however, that the scheme is voluntary. Special provision will be made for those who choose not to join it, to ensure no-one is disadvantaged. The school has a number of Chromebooks successfully used in the trialling which can be issued to children each morning on the understanding the equipment will be returned at the end of the school day.

Ideally, our preference would have been to purchase Chromebooks for all students from school funds. Sadly, due to increasing financial pressures, this is simply not possible.

In the 21st century, it is important for students’ educational experience to be as varied, dynamic and stimulating as possible. Our extensive research has convinced us this technology will support our aims, which is why we are so keen to press ahead with the scheme.

A balanced combination of school and home learning is crucial to the future success of young people, and technology opens the door to a new and engaging world that extends effective study way beyond the confines of the classroom. Chromebooks and Google G Suite for Education will give our students ready access to information wherever they are, whenever they like.

Chromebooks will supplement the existing learning strategies at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, letting pupils study safely, effectively and productively. Trials of the devices were highly successful, and we saw a significant increase in student engagement.

All the information you need about our scheme is here on our website. You can also email us via the Chromebooks for Learning Scheme at chromebooks@queenelizabeths.kent.sch.uk

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 two options from ASUS 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 own a Chromebook already will be able to bring it to school and have it connected to the School network for a £20 fee payable to Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School as long as it has a battery life of at least 6 hours. This is to pay for the cost of the management 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 offer 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.