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Sunday, 10 March 2013

Chromebook Trial Begins

IPACA learners get to grips with new Samsung Chromebooks
In the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy's (IPACA) vision for the use of Digital Technology we clearly state:
'The Academy wants to use the most cost effective secure ICT systems and will use cloud services to minimise servers on site and ensure data is secure and backed up. Local servers will also be needed, as we expect the curriculum to be media rich and for pupils to demonstrate a complete portfolio of lifelong evidence. The use of cloud services will reduce technician time in upgrading licences and managing software deployment. They will also reduce the amount of onsite server space required'.
With this in mind and my desire to explore new and innovative technology to support learning, I have recently become very interested in Chromebooks. Chromebooks are Internet-dependent laptops that starts up super fast (roughly 7 seconds, or a fraction of the time it takes to boot an old Windows computer). They’re relatively lightweight and powered by Google’s Chrome operating system. The device’s name gives you a clue of what kind of OS it uses, and the only app natively stored that runs on the device is a browser. Everything else is composed of Web apps (email, photos, documents), or apps that run while you’re connected to a network. Of course, this means there’s very little you can do on the Chromebook without Internet access. The high point about everything being saved on the Web is that you’ll have access to it from any computer. Plus, if your Chromebook fails, you won’t have to worry about losing all your apps, documents, and settings.

Before Christmas we had three Chromebooks at IPACA as a trial. This was very successful and you can read about the thoughts of one of my Primary colleagues on using a Chromebook by clicking here. With this success in mind, when a need for technology came in our Food Technology department it seemed a good opportunity to trial Chromebooks further. The result is that we now have seventeen Chromebooks to be used by all learners in this space to support collaborative, engaging and inspiring learning.

Samsung Chromebooks in an IPACA Food Technology learning space.
To support the introduction of the Chromebooks, I have been leading 'Chromebook Induction' sessions for the students in Food Technology. These sessions have all gone really well and highlight the effectiveness of this technology in the classroom. A selection of the videos I have been using as part of the 'Chromebook Induction' sessions are included below for reference:


The Chromebook's price, coupled with their easy-to-use management features make them very attractive to schools. It is too early for me to say yet if Chromebooks provide a proven solution for the classroom, however, I would like to take an educated guess that they have their place in a mixed economy of devices and could provide a real alternative to traditional systems for institutions.  

 I am very excited about seeing this area of technology grow and to discover the impact Chromebooks can have in supporting the engagement, innovation and inspiration of all our learners.

IPACA learners using a Chromebook's camera in Food Technology