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chromebooks & chromeboxes

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by mercer77, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. mercer77

    mercer77 New commenter

    Has anyone on here got any experience of using Chrome OS in school? I work in an SEN school with a relatively small number of pupils and we're currently looking at how to improve ICT access for pupils. We've looked at ipads which are great in many ways, but pricey and (in my opinion) very difficult to manage effectively in schools, not to mention that they can't run any of the flash based websites we use a lot. Chromebooks seem to be a good option, because thinking about it logically, most things that our pupils need to do on the computers (which is generally simpler than in a mainstream school) can be done on the web. There's no reason why they have to use microsoft office, any office suite will cover their needs. Google do seem to be aiming their products towards education at the moment, and it seems like they're developing a whole school based approach through their google apps thingie: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/edu/So, any thoughts or useful experience?
  2. During the 6 weeks holiday, I spent a ridiculous amount of time on forums and on the phone over a problem with a cloud office product provided by one of the big two cloud app vendors (won't say which one, this isn't a revenge attack). During this period, the charity that I was helping out had no ability to sync messages between the online service and their mobile staff's phones which was the main reason for buying into it.

    In the end, it took the whole 6 weeks to get it sorted and a valuable lesson was learned, i.e. As soon as you put your data and mail in the cloud, you have lost all control of it. The lack of ability to do anything to cure the problem was frustrating in the least. If you have a problem, the first thing you do is check log files for indications of a problem except in the cloud, you have no log files to check. At least one cloud provider has no phone support despite the fact that business people will be paying between £5 and £20 per person/per month to use it. The support came via a forum which may or may not be answered and the whole thing was a nightmare, ending only after I'd mailed the provider and secured a dedicated techie to work with. Seriously, six weeks to sort out a problem. At least it was just phone sync. If it had been 6 weeks with no mail or document access, imagine the chaos.

    I don't foresee the cloud being put into use here for a while, at least not while I'm still breathing.
  3. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    My thought: Chromebooks cost the same as a normal laptop. Buy a normal laptop, use the web apps.
  4. mercer77

    mercer77 New commenter

    That sounds like a nightmare JPBagwell! On the other side of that though, our server at school was hacked a few months ago, and it took weeks to sort out, so things can go wrong just as easily when you're locally based. I rely heavily on google mail, google calendar and dropbox and they very rarely let me down.
    In terms of buying a regular laptop, a quick look at Amazon would suggest you're right about cost, you can get a respectable spec laptop for around 270 the same as a chromebook with far worse specs. I guess the advantages to the chromebook would be the sub 10 second boot time and (apparently) longer battery life.
  5. Hi Mercer,

    Firstly i don't think you should be so quick to dismiss tablets as a viable solution for your school. Although i appreciate iPads and Apple products in general aren't the easiest to manage, especially in a school environment, tablets can be used in so many different ways and can be cheaper than many laptop/notebook products.

    http://bit.ly/PGiZrX (Check out this article for some more information on various different tablets particularly the Learnpad - an education specific tablet. There is also a section on SEN schools that may be relevant).

    With your school being an SEN as well, personally i think that encouraging your students to use tablet computers early on will help them in later life as everyday usage is becoming more and more common. Without being too presumptuous many of your students will likely already have some understanding of how to use a laptop/PC from your current ICT suite and computers at home, so why not show them something new and engaging? Even if it is just as a trial at first.

    Secondly have you considered purchasing any of your ICT through procurement frameworks such as RM1692? - http://bit.ly/PGjPFh - You may find that it could save your school a significant amount of cash. It doesn't guarantee you savings, but its certainly worth a look if your considering a large purchase!
  6. P.s. does anyone know how to format text as a paragraph???

    Every time i put a line space in it doesn't appear in my final post!!
  7. Hi,

    I like your thinking. Google offer educational licences for leasing chromebook's. I would recommend that you get in touch with Google's Alex Fleming - afleming@google.com - and discuss your requirements.


    Chrome Sales Manager (EDU) - EMEA

    P (UK) + 44 207 881 4704

    P (IRE) + 353 1 436 1390

    P (Mob) + 353 87 053 5500

    Fax + 353 1 684 9921

    E afleming@google.com

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