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Chromebooks in the classroom, trends and hints


Since its inception in 2011, the rapid growth in popularity of the Chromebook has shown that it’s disruption in technology can’t be ignored. As seen at the CES 2015 unveiling of the Acer Chromebook 15 last month, these computers have evolved from small cloud- based laptops into sleek machines with 15” displays and responsive keyboards that sell for under $300.

Because of the portability, price tag, keyboard, and many other features, the Chromebook has not only inundated workplaces and homes, but it recently beat out iPads and other tablet purchases in schools. In quarter three of 2014, Google shipped out 715,500 laptops to schools compared with 702,000 iPads. In two years time, Chromebooks have gone from zero to a quarter of the education market in handheld and laptop devices. (Forbes)

In quarter four of last year, Google announced that more than 1 million Chromebooks have now been purchased by U.S. schools. According to PR Web, “A growing interest in 1:1 and BYOD programs is fueled in part by the rapid growth of mobile computing devices and the increased focus on personalized learning. Nearly half (44%) of all U.S. districts report that 1:1 computing is substantially implemented in high schools, 36% in middle schools, and 20% in elementary schools. Chromebooks have come on strong with half of all districts citing implementation of these newer devices.”

For school district IT directors and technology purchasers, those statistics are impossible to ignore. When deciding on what computers to add to classrooms and labs, it’s most likely that Chromebooks are on the list of possibilities. Regardless of popularity, though, many factors need to be assessed to make an informed decision about adding these new devices to existing education technology resources.

To assist in the decisionmaking and implementation process, we’ve gathered up some Chromebook resources for IT administrators, teachers, students and districts:

Things to consider when moving to Google Apps

Chromebooks come preloaded with Google apps, which are basically their own operating system. These are some questions to consider from Tech Republic:

  1. Is your school or organization prepared to handle increased bandwidth from using a cloud-based service? Do you have enough access points and a back-up plan if something goes down? Is your IT department properly staffed?
  1. Are your students, parents and faculty aware of the capabilities and limitations of Google Apps? Do they understand the safety issues of using a web-based product and how to effectively monitor use?
  1. Are you prepared for the changes in workflow and group dynamics this will bring to your school or organization? Do you have a rollout plan that accounts for differences in development stages and education level?

Sample district plan for Chromebook implementation

Speaking of rollout plans…It’s a well known belief in education that “stealing” other teachers and district plans is a good thing. Don’t reinvent the wheel! Utilizing some of the legwork that other districts have already done will help to hurry the process of getting Chromebooks launched.

Township High School District 113 in Illinois created a comprehensive plan for Chromebook rollout that includes technology upgrades, technology summit course suggestions for teachers, and even correlations of Chromebook use to common core standards for their state. A printable PDF is available here.

Here’s a great explanation for using Chromebooks in schools, geared toward district students and parents, created by Batavia, IL Public School District 101:

21st Century Learning Plan: Chromebooks in the Classroom

Comparisons of Chromebook products

To aid in decisions of which Chromebooks to purchase, here’s a handy comparison chart from Lifehacker. Note: this doesn’t contain the brand new Chromebook 15 mentioned previously in this post.

Tips for district IT management of Chromebooks

Here are 3 Chromebook management tips for Google-fied districts for IT Directors

Teachers Guide to everything Chromebook

Using Chromebooks in the classroom isn’t just a tech challenge. It’s a change in classroom management and lesson planning. It doesn’t matter how well the rollout goes if teachers don’t know how to incorporate the technology into their curriculum, right? This info from Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything tells all: (wow, that’s a lot of resources!)

  • What is a Chromebook?
  • Chromebook Tutorials
  • Successful Classroom Practices
  • Informational Chromebook Sites

Student guide to handling Chromebooks

This awesome video explains to students how to physically handle a Chromebook properly using a humorous approach

Monitoring and Networking for Chromebooks

Along with adding Chromebooks to classrooms comes the need to manage them. Because Google Apps allow the devices to be independent without being assigned to a specific student, adding seamless sign in and remote monitoring abilities is a necessity. Impero Software offers solutions for all the issues surrounding monitoring usage of Chromebooks.

With Impero, teachers can now view Chromebook screens remotely and in real time from within the classroom. Students can also share their Chromebook screens with their classmates. Not only does this keep students engaged in the classroom, but the teacher can now ensure their students cannot access illegal websites and have full visibility into the terms and phrases their students are searching for.

Impero Education Pro provides classroom management functionality across iPads, Chromebooks and other mobile devices, so educators can retain control of their classroom and embrace mobile devices as valuable learning tools.

NOTE: Impero Software does not distribute or sell Google Chromebooks. This blog post is not an endorsement of Chromebooks in replacement of any other technology product, but is an informational post only.