We are currently incorporating Chromebooks into our classroom! Here are a few things to note for their use:
Here is some initial student feedback!
What are Chromebooks? - A Chromebook is a personal computer with no hard drive that is designed to be used while connected to the Internet and support applications that reside on the Web, rather than traditional PC applications like Microsoft Office that reside on the machine itself.
So if there is no hard drive where do we do our work? - Within Wolf apps and other web based applications. Working within Wolf apps is a school based version of Google Drive accounts where you can create, manage and store documents online, accessing them wherever there is internet access.
Can you work on Chromebooks without internet access? - Chromebooks do not have hard drives to store data on or programs like office to work within, so no. But there are USB access ports on each machine so you can download work from your Wolf apps account to a USB to work on at home.
Will we be using the Chromebooks for everything? - Every tool has it's purpose. The Chromebooks will provide online access to a student work environment that will work for most assignments, but there will be some things that the Chromebooks will not be the best tool for. Our goal is and always will be to have students learn as much as they can in a productive environment, no matter what tool is used.
Can I still use one of the old HP laptops? - No, these laptops are at the end of their lifespan and will be phased out quickly, so you will need to transfer all your work off them on to your Wolf apps account.
Can I still use my own laptop or iPad? - Yes, you can still access all the online tools that we will be using on these devices.
Do students have to buy the Chromebooks? - No, the Chromebooks are part of a pilot project within the division to see how effective they are. Students will be expected to be responsible for their devices throughout and will be held accountable if they are abusing the equipment.
Will the Chromebooks be taken home? - At the time, no. But this is a pilot project and if we decide that it is in the best interests of students and the effectiveness of the project that decision might change in the future.
So what is an 'App' and how does it work? - Each student will be working using their Wolf apps account that will allow them to create word, powerpoint and excel documents within their Wolf apps account. In addition to this, there are many apps that students will have access to though the Chrome Web Store. These apps will follow their profile wherever they log in so they have access to them to work and learn with. These apps have a wide variety of purposes, many educational, but yes there are non-educational apps too. The use of these apps will be covered within digital citizenship and the same rule applies with the online tools as with the hardware, "you abuse it, you lose it".
What happens if a student does something they shouldn't while online on the Chromebook? - There is no perfect answer to this question as it is a very complex issue. First off there has been a great deal of digital citizenship taught at Bluffton School since the original 1:1 project started, so expectations should be clear for what is and what is not acceptable behavior online. This digital citizenship will continue moving forward as we introduce new exciting tools. The long and the short of it is "you abuse it, you lose it". For how long will depend on the situation.
So lets take a look at what this will look like!
Here is an image of what the Chromebooks will look like! They look and act as a basic laptop, with one major difference, they have no hard drive and few programs. They are designed to work online.
This is what your Chrome Browser will look like, you can see the basic setup has your five main functions incorporated. As you find and add apps that will help you learn you will find their logos included in your browser wherever you log in to the Chrome browser at.
This is what the Chrome Web Store will look like once you log in to the Chrome browser. Most if not all apps are free within the store and each category is clearly identified on the menu bar on the left. There are many great apps that will help students, but there are apps that are not educational. Digital citizenship will be strictly enforced and the rule always applies, "you abuse it, you lose it".