Not sure about anyone else but my experience of using laptops in schools over the years has verged on dreadful! I’ve always been committed to making sure technology stayed in the classroom rather than in computer suites. But with laptops there always seemed to be something which could go wrong. Long boot ups, wireless not connecting, and batteries dying just seemed to drain confidence in staff. When I started introducing Ipads in schools many of those things started to evaporate and it was great to see teachers using technology in the classroom again with more confidence.
It was only last year when I actually used a Chromebook for the first time. I knew their general premise but couldn’t quite see how they would practically work in a school. I was wondering how we would save work, how children would use them, how reliable would they be and could we actually survive without Windows! We borrowed some chromebooks from a great company called C-learning and trialled them in the school. They were an instant hit with the children and teachers. I may have been lucky with the teachers at our school but they were using them on a regular basis with the children in class from day 1. The instant boot up time was appreciated and we combined Google Apps and other websites to offer a pretty good range of software.
After the trail we decided to buy a class set in September. Children in Key stage 2 were each given their own email and password and they started to save their documents within their google account. The children are now brilliant at getting logged on to the Chromebooks with their email ( from Y3). For key stage 1 children we set up whole year usernames and passwords just to make it quicker to get the children logged on. With a chromebook the children can just click on a picture and then enter a simple picture to get logged on. Using a chromebook does mean that the majority of your work on a computer has to be online so we signed up to purple mash. Google Apps didn’t seem quite right for those younger children.
The impact so far of Chromebooks at our school has been fantastic. Children from reception right the way up to Y6 use them on a regular basis and our use of Google apps and Google classroom is widening. We’ve had to try harder to make them accessible for key stage 1 children but we’re definitely getting there. For us Chromebooks in school has been a massive success so far.