Today we rolled out our Chromebooks. Students were very excited to get their hands on the new machines. Many students were surprised by how ‘nice/small/shiny/cute/light’ they were… Kids were in awe to be getting a new machine. It was a special moment being able to provide something they were really thankful for.
I heard many comments about these CBs being the perfect size. They have 11.6 inch screens but the best part is how thin and light they are. And, being 16GB of flash they open & respond almost instantly. Anyways, I’ve snapped two quick photos so you can see it as compared to my 15′ MBP.
As kids activated the machines by log-in to the machine, many asked questions like ‘how to change the background or passwords’, and ‘can I merge my existing Google account?’ Today I decided I would bite my lip and try not solve/answer their question/problem immediately. Instead, I just replied with simple statements like, “You’ll figure it out…”, and “have fun with that”. Also, I used the classic, “Hmm, what a great question…let me know when you work it out.” Our high school secretary was cracking grins as she heard me interacting with the kids.
But, as the day went on these were the bumps that turned up:
- “My .docx downloaded, but it won’t open.” – just learning how to display a non-editable file (.docx, etc) versus uploading and converting a file into an editable GoogleDoc…
- Students signing into Chrome with their school Google accounts on their personal laptops (not the CBs) should say “yes” to syncing all data – just learning why Chrome makes sense if/when using multiple machines for access…
- “Where are my files?” – just learning how the OS works (downloads folder and a GoogleDrive folder)…
- “Umm, I can’t download any Apps…” – just learning the user settings of the machine…
These were great questions/statements to hear today. I am quite eager to see where we find ourselves on Monday…
…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? Continue reading
As I mentioned in my previous Chromebook trial post, I wanted to get a student’s perspective. I have spent time with the machine, but before we commit to the next three years with new hardware I think it wise to consult the users who will be producing on the item.
So, here is a guest post from Measha, a grade 11 student,who spent a week with the Chromebook:
Working on the Chromebook was far more pleasing and far more exciting than I thought it would be. I mean, I suppose I originally ruled it out as being an inferior machine…and I supposed it was DOA because it was internet only.
Yet, I survived, though not sure if I thrived, in using it as my stand alone machine for one week. The only production I did on my MBP was working with:
- a Pages file because I already had a working template (no way around this)
- excel because I had a number of schedules and planning documents that already existed (MBP because of time-deadline)
- my household YNAB budget (paid software that runs on my personal computer)
I spent the second half of my trial week comparing the Chromebook to my iPad. Continue reading
Taking this Chromebook (CB) home for the long weekend and hosting family I wasn’t sure how much time I was going to spend on the computer. I last posted early Saturday morning and it is now late Sunday night. This is the first I’ve had any computer open. I’ve had my iPhone on me and all access has been done on it. I have not even debated opening my MBP and each time I think of reaching for the iPad I am actually wanting to reach for this CB.
I’m actually wanting to spend time on the CB rather than on my iPad…
Yes, the iPad is great – fun to use, great screen and battery life, awesome UI…but really – how much of what I do on the iPad is app-based and how much is just surfing Safari? Yup, I can do that all with this CB and my iPhone. And for me, typing on the iPad just isn’t great. [Yet, it does help keep my email replies short…] Continue reading