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We will be deploying about 60 chromebooks next year and I am interested in talking and sharing our experience with other schools who are using them, or thinking about using them.

 

So far it seems like it will be fairly easy thing to do. We are a google apps school and set up a chromebook account to use as the master account on the machine. We use an iprisim for a filter and once it has connected to it, the student authenticates (as they do with any computer) and then off they go.

 

For research, writing and other google apps this seems like an ideal solution. Good battery life, about 60% cheaper than the macbooks we typically buy, and easy management.

 

The one big question is printing, we hope to use google print or HP's eprint but right it is a bit clunky. You have to copy the contents of what you want to print and then send it as an email to the printer. Does anyone have insights into making google print work more elegantly? I see this as a big question to answer as we get ready to let students and teachers print from phones and other mobile devices.

 

Thanks in advance for any help or thoughts you have to share.

 

-Jamie

Tags: chromebook

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Jamie,

 

Impressive move.  I look forward to watching this program evolve.  We're moving to a 1:1 program this fall with a standardized model in grade 7(tablet PC) and and open or BYOD model with minimum requirements in 9 and 10.

 

Hiram 

Thanks Hiram,

 

Yes we should get together and compare notes and experiences later this fall. Does the BYOD minimum requirements allow for smartphones to be the device? I don't know know that the phones are entirely there yet but my hunch is that they soon will be. I remember hearing Will Richardson once say "use what they have in their pockets" and I've always been intrigued by the idea.

 

-Jamie

Jamie,

 

I would love to compare notes.  As for the BYOD, we are not allowing mobile devices just yet which includes the iPad.  After chatting with a # of apple 1:1 schools they felt that the iPad was not quite ready for a school environment which I do agree with but it will get there soon enough. We do however have some minimum requirements and they can be found on our 1:1 blog: http://blogs.stchristophers.com/1to1/

 

With respects to mobile, I agree that it is coming too but I worry that this will create another layer of the digital divide.  The data plan seems to be the big problem. A smart phone that can only make calls/txt but allows wifi would be a nice work around or a shared family data plan.

 

Hiram

Agreed.

 

My sons have Virgin Mobile prepaid android phones, for $25 a month they get unlimited texting and unlimited data and 300 voice minutes (which they never use.) The nice thing with it being prepaid is that you can cancel the data plan but the phone will still work with wifi!

 

We have a couple of android devices just on wifi to loan out to teachers and students. The LG Optimus is a nice phone for $150.

 

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/lg-optimus-v-phone.jsp

 

though I noticed they raised the monthly fee to $35! I hope my sons are grand-fathered in!

Found the right documentation for google cloud printer, it works now the way it should. Interesting site too for learning more about chromebooks and how they work with Google Apps.

 

http://www.google.com/support/chromeos/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&an...

thanks for sharing, Jamie. Really looking forward to hearing of your progress. I think Chromebooks and the way they facilitate collaboration and communication could be fantastic for student learning. I hope to get one or two in the office at some point in the next few weeks for check-out. 

Jamie, this sounds like a great project.  I really look forward to hearing how your implementation goes (and if you work out a way to get 3G for them all).  I mentioned your project to a colleague today, and he said, "Well, that's the future of computing, most likely."

 

We seem to be running a different direction.  The BYOB for the HS here isn't a requirement, and lots of laptops come in, but the faculty don't seem to request or expect 1:1 at any time for academic work, or they request them from a fleet of loaners when they want it for an hour. 

 

So, we're thinking of piloting 18 Macbook Airs (11 inch, 4 gigs mem, 64 gigs storage) as a 1:1 with students taking them home in the HS.  Overall, it's a way to get consistency, and we're also rolling out Google Apps and Docs to support it.  I wonder if we could get away without installing Office...

Here are a couple of recent updates:

 

1) Spoke with Google about their leasing option, interesting to me that Google is moving into the hardware business. For us, their pricing structure doesn't make much sense. The chromebook is one of many devices we will have so maybe the admin features would be more important for other folks but the three year lease cost of $720 negates the low cost appeal. You can learn more about the program here:

http://www.google.com/chromebook/chromebooks.html#business-educatio...

 

2) The LG Optimus from Virgin won't make a secure connection on our school network, seems to be a quirk with the handset. I've spent a couple of hours on it, couldn't find a solution, and have moved onto the Samsung Intercept model. I don't like it as much but it works on our network.

 

3) Printing is working, it seems to manage printers through something akin to a printer control panel embedded in the user's google account. Not perfect, not a great way to share with all students (yet) but it works (and it also allows users to print gmail and google docs from their phones. It is also available only on SOHO printers, hoping to see it arrive for our enterprise network HP printers.

 

4) Running into some problems with students logging into their accounts for the first time on a chromebook. It's a catch-22 where the internet filter won't allow the student access before they authenticate but the authentication page won't display before the login to the machine. Right now using the guest account seems to work fine with no real loss of function.

 

5) In conjunction with the chromebooks the Upper School is preparing to say "We recognize smartphones as being similar to computers and students may use them in similar ways." I have started to describe the efforts as creating an ecosystem of technology tools, acknowledging that students will move among many of them based on preference, convenience, need, and lastly and least importantly, the capacity and performance of the the device itself.

Hi, Jamie

We have our first Chromebook in for testing, and I like it quite a bit.  It's the Samsung version 5, and it only cost £350, which isn't bad for its feature set and capabilities.

We are also a Google Docs school, so I contacted Google about getting the management console turned on for us so we could centrally manage our first Chromebook.  It was then that I got the bad news-- we don't get the central management unless we buy the Chromebooks via Google for Business (and Ed), there's a minimum purchase of three, and after the first year the priviledge of using the management console costs $13 per unit per month.

I'm still somewhat reeling from this.  I think $156 per year per unit just for central management is more than I've ever paid for central imaging and management of a Windows machine...  Good grief.

In your program, are you just managing them individually (which would be a pain for a lot of bookmarks and extensions, etc.)?  Or did you work out some way to use central management?

Thanks!

Jim Heynderickx

Jim,

Glad you were able to get one at a more reasonable price, though in the states Amazon is selling the 12.1 samsung for $349.

We bought some of our chromebooks from Amazon and they are outside the control panel and we bought a cart (which was a good deal mostly because of the Bretford cart that was included) that do have the management.

Part of my interest in the chromebooks is that they don't really need to be managed. They update the OS automatically, and we really just use them for web browsing and google apps so I don't see a real need or benefit for the management console, certainly not a benefit of $156 per year.

Once we set them up in the open model, we haven't done anything else with them. When the kids login to their google accounts they acquire all of their settings. I'll talk with the MS folks who are using the management tool and if they have insights I've missed, I'll add them here later.

Thanks, Jamie.  It would be really useful to know if the central management tool is redundant.  My primary thought when looking at the video about it was that it could streamline the distribution of bookmarks, homepage and extension delivery to each unit (extensions being the local program enhancements), which otherwise would need to be done manually on each unit (unless we opted not to do them at all).

In your model, are the students using their own Google Docs logins or a shared login?  It seems like we would need to have students use individual logins to make the file collections and sharing work.  If they are logging in indvidually, I wonder if that means they have to be local admins as well and able to install extensions at will, or if the machines could make they like local users with less than full control on the machine.  Since we're thinking third and fourth graders, there's not a huge problem with local rights, but I guess it's a question worth asking.  (We do have a controlled, filtered Internet connection, for at least one layer of control.)

Thanks-- I find this topic very interesting.  I read a good article about this yesterday-- check out the first comment in response that contrasts iPad management in a school with Chromebook management in a school:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/will_chromebooks_for_education...

I think that the commenter may be right that iPads seem to force a personal device into a shared environment with no ability for multiple states and multiple users.  The Chromebooks seem to be optimized for this, with the backup of school-provided Google Docs accounts for each login.  This contrast is pretty significant.

Jim

Hi Jamie,

I'm interested to see the chromebooks work for your students. What is the age of the students using? 

Just 8 seconds to start up is fantastic!  It seems to make sense as most of what the students are doing is web based searching and they can start working directly with their Google Apps account.

We too are a Google Apps school. Just wondering about printing. The beauty of using Google Apps is the collaboration, commenting and being able to see who's done what without having to print. We have teachers who need to have everything printed, we're trying to push to make the teachers be greener.

Thank you. Look forward to hear the feedback from you and the students.

Stephanie

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