…well…the Chromebooks are here…I hope we are ready…
In all our thinking, researching, and testing last year I am happy to say that we have chosen Google Chromebooks as our 1:1 device of choice. Yet, the rubber hits the road this Friday as we roll them out to students.
I spent much of today in the back-end admin functions setting up a few trial groups. These will help staff quickly deploy GDocs in Drive and set due dates in GCalendar. Also, I searched for apps that will be helpful for staff and students and shared them with staff to consider.
Because I am flipping my Math 11 and 12 this year my students have been using devices already this year. But, other courses have used BYOD combined with our school mobile lab to ensure students have devices when needed. The Chromebooks will ensure that students have a device 24-7 for the year.
We use Moodle for course delivery and I have already seen the added benefit of this year’s school-based Google accounts. Students have collaborated together in note, research, and HW documents. They have set their cells and laptops to sync and push GCalendar updates and due dates. They have also experienced the ease of cloud-based systems by moving from one laptop to another only to find their information waiting for them as they log-in.
If these were some of the early successes or benefits, my mind is full of possible challenges and ‘as of now’ unanswered questions. Here are a few of them:
- How do students handle previous gmail accounts…what if they ‘don’t want to’ use our account?
- What happens to student account information (Docs) after they are gone? Will they be able to easily transfer their info into another account?
- Really? Another log-in and password for students and staff? Students now have 3 accounts they must use daily…
- Can we set up our Microsoft Exchange email and calendar functions to work with Google? I know the work as separate accounts within the same program, but can I actually receive MS Exchange and GMail email natively? If so, I could see myself using the CB much more…
- Should we create course calendars…whose job is it? I see a huge need to help our students grow in their organization. I believe tech tools can help with this. But, if a calendar is continually produced for them rather than by them, is it a service or a dis-service?
- I believe GMail (like iCloud) can be very helpful for digital organization – having all data up-to-date all the time. Will students catch this wave?
- Perhaps only just under half of our kids will be using Chromebooks in Grades 10-11-12. So, do we transition our staff and practices away from MS Work and towards GDocs? Or, do we ask CB people to convert files? This will be messy…but we will figure it out…
- Like the last point offered, where will I begin creating documents now? MS Word or GDocs? I suppose it will depend on the goal of the document. And, this could also mean having documents stored in a few different places. Hmm, should my files live on my local hard-drive anymore? Can I really have a clone-copy on machine and cloud…*that updates automatically???
- How much do we allow these CBs to be customized? Students who BYOD are rocking their own machines…and have full control. Should our CB kids have the same opportunity? Or, should it be pushed from our school admin for ‘approved edu’ apps only?
Well, we started the year without our 1:1 machines. They were ordered in early July but have just arrived on location this week. Some students brought their own devices and we used our mobile lab for students who needed a device for specific courses. It wasn’t pretty, but it did work. In hind-sight, it actually allowed September’s courses to start with a strong focus on the basics, without tech getting in the way, without it being seen as more than a tool… Now that we have had a few weeks to get into the school year I believe it is a great time roll out our 1:1.
It will be messy. You should see people’s faces when I explain that the CBs can’t install any programs… Well, it’s a new paradigm shift. Messy is ok…I’m not scared of mess. I just trust that these messy weeks will see our kids and staff push through to new levels of collaboration and creation.
PS – with this CB project, let me know if there’s things you’d like to know or questions you’d like to ask. We’ll try figure it out through our ‘messiness’…