Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chromebook Rollout

Friday we sent home Chromebooks with our students.  It was a crazy hectic wonderful week.  The kids were very excited and so is our staff.  It is really great to work with such wonderful people.  They are my forward thinking, eager, willing to change, and always up for a challenge. 

It did take longer to hand those out than i thought and it was slow while all kids hit the app store and chrome got the latest version.  We had one which had a chromebook error but a reboot fixed that.  One with a dead battery and a few who could not get the passwords but that was it.  The device was great.  Saw some tweets from students about how they thought it was cool and they were even making a production of carrying the case around.  Overall I would say it was a success.  Best part is no windows updates.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My thoughts on Chromebook with 1 to 1

A few weeks ago we began to seriously consider a 1 to 1 at our high school.  Of course, the first thing people ask is what are we going to get?    Our priorities for a solution were: ease of student use, long battery life, durability, deployment time, and support.  We considered a traditional windows machine to integrate with our Active Directory, a MAC solution, and Chromebooks.  Netbooks were not considered due to the complaints we had on size with high school kids.  We currently have 3 1 to 1 classrooms at high school which have netbooks with Windows 7 starter. They only use these to get to the internet.

The familiarity of Windows is an appealing idea.  Little or no training would be needed on the technology.  However, the impact on our existing staff is a very large concern.  We are a small school with 1 full time technician and me.  Quite a bit of my time is spent on things other than actually working on technology.  Also, the overhead of AD is a concern, plus loading programs and updating things like flash, java, etc. 

For the MACS we are very unfamiliar with the systems.  We do not have any on our campus so it would be a very different for our staff and students.  Also, the cost is not something we think we can afford.  I really like MACS but we are not prepared to handle that much change.
This brings me to the chromebooks.  

In January I attended a workshop at where Google presented Chromebooks for school.  I was intrigued by the quickness of the machine, the lack of need for third party programs to keep it safe, and battery life.  A concern is we only get a browser.  However, for us we are a Google Apps school and have been for 3 years.  Our students and staff all have email accounts and use them regularly.  Our current setup of 3 -1 to 1 classrooms use Google doc almost exclusively along with Edmodo to interact with students.  So far this has worked well for us.  Since we are only using the current hardware in the classrooms to connect to internet this makes the Chromebook very attractive.  

I have a chromebook which arrived about 2 weeks ago.  I find it very fast and easy to use.  I rarely pick up my laptop anymore and  just grab the chromebook. With an 8 sec boot and 8.5 hour battery life it is easier to use.  I also gave this to several students to use for a day.  Each review was very positive.  They love the boot speed and the fact that they could close it and carry it to the next class and be right back where they were.  Again, speed is huge when class time is considered. I also spoke with several schools about the IT impact of chromebooks.  All said very minimal. I have emailed, twittered, and called so many schools I feel like the Chromebook stalker.  

Overall I am leaning toward the Chromebook for our 1 to 1.  The lack of impact on our IT staff is huge and I feel the staff and students will be quick to adapt to something with little IT over head.

These are just my thoughts and observations for what will work at our school.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

1 to 1??

We began last week exploring the possibilities of going 1 to 1 at our high school.  This past year we purchased 200 netbooks.  These were placed in science rooms from grades 4-12.  Each teacher went through a week of training in the summer and was allowed one day per month release time for training.  The program has been a huge success with students engaged in active learning instead of passively receiving information. 
Putting the computers in the room full time vs checking out a lab has made a huge difference in lesson plans, time spend working, and few technical problems.
Now we are turning to placing more computers in the hands of computers. More to come. . 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Getting Started with Google

I know yesterday was a lot to digest but I do feel everyone is starting to really see the possibilities of the project. So far I have spent many sleepless or fitful nights worried about how this is all going to fit together but it seems to be going fine.  I thought I would try to summarize what we went over for you and also if I have forgotten something please leave a comment for me and others.

Watch video of the overview of google docs  BEFORE THEY OPEN NETBOOKS

Get Google accounts going-have them log in may take some time

  • have them reply to your welcome email and send
Setup iGoogle homepage setup for students

Set Google Docs in iGoogle

  • Add Gadget from left side
  • in search box put google docs
  • Add it now
  • Back to igoogle from left
Now you want to add YOUR blog feed to their iGoogle homepage
  • have them go to your blog i.e. or whatever you are
  • subscribe to posts
  • google
  • add to homepage NOT READER
Now they have on their log into google
  • iGoogle with mail, docs, and your blog feed
  • they will add other stuff and customize the themes on their own I am sure

From you blog have them comment on something you have left for them

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What a Day!

What a day! Spent all day training staff for netbooks in their classrooms.  It is always challenging but my best day of the month.  We worked on Google, blogging, and getting ready for that firs week with the new computers.  Everyone was really tired by the end but a happy kind of tired.
Wish us luck as we start the adventure.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Best Day of the Month

Tomorrow is the best day of my month.  It is the first Wednesday of the  month and I get to spend the day with a great group of educators who are going 1 to 1 in their classrooms.  I really enjoy the this day because they are all motivated and eager to learn about new ways to use technology with students.

Today each received tables to replace the student desks to help with collaboration and to make the netbooks accessible anytime during class.  The netbooks will be in next week and they are all nervous but eager to have the students really doing what we've talked about.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why Google Docs or Cloud Computing

For using Google docs in class you will need to "show" many of the students how to use Google Docs.  This may be the first time many have logged in.  That process can be frustrating the first time so let's make it as simple as possible.  

Start off on the projector with this video as to the "why" for google docs. It is only about 3 minutes log and it explains some of the benefits of Google docs which may help.