In the fall my school will be getting chromebooks, and becoming a 1:1 technology school. In the process, I am doing some research and learning about chromebooks. I wanted to share that information with you. Everyone’s school technology situation is different, but it may be of help to you.
First of all, this brings up logistical management issues. My school has a number of students who also take courses at a local community college. They will be allowed to take the chromebooks with them, to use in college classes. Our other students will not be allowed to take the chromebooks out of school (keep in mind that I am in a very urban district). We have not yet, as a school, determined how they will be managed. For example, will students get their computer from a cart in the morning and then need to return it at the end of the day? And carry it from class to class all day? Will they get out a new one each class block? And use class time logging in/starting it?
All those issues aside, I plan to make some instructional changes in my class, and have been learning about chromebooks.
Here were a few of my initial questions:
Does everyone need a gmail account ? No, they need a google account, but it can be tied to another email (for example my school email).
How quickly do they boot up? They are supposed to boot up quickly, like 10 seconds.
What is the battery life? Battery life is supposed to be about 6 hours, roughly.
What can you do on a chromebook? A chromebook boots into google chrome. So you can run anything you can run from there. That includes browser, google docs, or any apps that are in the chrome webstore. There are some that would work well for school in here, such as apps geared towards typing, language learning, edmodo, anatomy and solar system games, etc.
Can I use flash based animations/sites? It appears that yes, you can, and they are supposed to run well because google chrome automatically updates flash on the chrome browser.
What do I want to try? Although there are many other sites that are comparable (such as socrative.com and others), if we are using a google platform I am curious to try this extension that will grade google doc quizzes http://www.flubaroo.com/flubaroo-user-guide
I will be spending some time this summer adapting my curriculum to better fit this technology. I think access to chromebooks will allow for more differentiation/self-pacing, and more immediate feedback. I can see it being easier to offer more options through an online platform. Perhaps I will move to a semi-flipped classroom model, but implemented within the classroom walls.
All in all, they sound like a great classroom alternative, and I’m excited to learn more over the summer. Is anyone using chromebooks? Have any advice to share? How does it change your instruction to have 1:1 technology?
Tara is a science teacher from upstate NY. She has taught General Science, Biology, Environmental Science, and Earth Science.