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SCHOOL-IT  March 2012

SCHOOL-IT March 2012

Subject:

Re: Chromebooks

From:

Gregory Connors <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 08:59:45 -0400

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text/plain

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text/plain (81 lines)

I'm getting a lot of emails, so I might as well share thoughts or what we have 
discovered so far. Wish this was a Google Group so I can keep track easier ... 
:) ... ok ok ...

Firstly, I should say that Neil Daub and I just returned from the Google Apps for 
Edu Summit in NJ and it was heartening to see so many HUGE districts in NY/NJ 
going all in (or thinking about it) with Chromebooks and Google / Web Apps in 
general. 

Like most of our endeavors as technology people, the key to success is going 
to be making sure the endusers, the teachers in this case, are comfortable. 
Can they make a web-only classroom work? Some people can find a web 
alternative lickety-split and some are slow legacy application people that are 
just confounded by the transition. Being a Google Apps district will help 
because you can push extensions and even bookmarks to lead people down to 
the water. The buy-in should be ease of use.

All of the 30 Chromebooks came with VGA to HDMI adapters that made any one 
of them capable of using for a presentation, which a teacher did at a recent in-
service. I did not realize she was going to do this 5 seconds before she had to 
speak, but her presentation was in Apps and "it just worked". No manual 
switching, the Chromebook knew the output and switched / formatted.

The model that we received was the Samsung Series 5. Now, I do not want to 
say that they are durable and jinx myself, but they seem to be OK, its plastic-y 
like most things these days for sure, but the screen was real nice and the 
keyboard roomy. I am really liking the battery life, we had the whole cart out 
for a recent in-service and they were still going at the end of the day no 
problem.

My predecessor upgraded the wireless to Aerohive in all the schools so the 
Chromebooks are just fine. 

We just started experimenting with Google Cloud Print and I have to say - I am 
in love. Printers and copiers are the bane of my existence and I have expended 
a great deal of effort in avoiding them throughout my career - think the "fax 
scene" from Office Space and you get my feelings.

Now here is the deal - you can share any printer with any user, like you would 
sharing a document in Google Apps, in less than 10 seconds. Yes. 

Forget drivers - I shared a somewhat complicated Central Office copier on a 
Windows XP laptop (logged into Apps from a browser) with someone and they 
were able to print from the Chromebook 1 minute after they logged on to the 
Chromebook for the first time. As an Admin, you can audit the print jobs of a 
user regardless of where they are and give global permissions to printer groups.

The cart itself (when you buy 30) is real nice and has a great layout and set of 
features. If you are going to buy several carts - technically only the first cart 
is free - bill the cart to separate school tech lines and make sure the invoice is 
to the school, this way each school is ordering for the first time ... wink wink 
... catch my drift?  

Anyway, Chromebooks will not replace anything - they are just part of a new 
strategy in information delivery. As part of a measured approach, we think they 
are going to shine -

Need to get on the internet fast / know what you are doing with Web Apps - 
use a Chromebook.
Want to foster discovery in younger grades (SPED) / media consumption / be 
fun and play games - use an iPad (I would prefer Android tablets, but "peoples 
loves 'em som iPad").
Want more control or power with applications - use an Linux, Apple, Windows 
or Virtual powered laptop / workstation.
Real-time class participation key? - we have a Bring-Your-Own-Device policy in 
place so they can use whatever they have for something like Google Moderator 
or a web-based LMS.

Greg

Gregory Connors
Director of Information Technology
Rutland Central Supervisory Union
257 South Main Street
Rutland, VT 05701
802.775.4342 x 110 - Office
802.733.4190 - Mobile
[log in to unmask]

 

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