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Fresh out of the box,first impressions of the Chromebook for education

Recently our school was fortunate enough to be successful in receiving a grant form CORE Education to buy a set of Chromebooks for our students.  Today the boys opened them and booted them up - it only took about 2 minutes from the time that I put the sealed box on the desk until the first boys had logged in and were browsing the web, almost unbelievable!!

The devices worked out of the box and students were able to log in straight away with the existing google apps account, or create a new one if they had not used one before.  I had decided to create a wifi hotspot from my laptop so the first time the boys turned them on they wouldn't have to worry about wifi passwords and network restrictions - I was skeptical at first but I had 15 chromebooks working at good internet speed from one connection on my Macbook pro, some boys were even streaming some content from a recent lesson I had posted on google+!  So that the devices were logged on our admin console the boys had to also press 'ctl-alt-e' to register them on our domain, from there they were logged in and ready to go.  Once the machines were logged into the domain and into the console I could control the user experience from anywhere in the world - making sure students were always safe, secure and focussed on the right task!

I recently attended a webinar that was held by +Mike Reading and +Adam Naor about the use of chromebooks in schools I was already excited about how we could use them with the students - the main points that they highlighted were speed, simplicity, and security - you can manage each computer with secure settings - no viruses or hardware updates and it can be user/teacher controlled.

Out of the box to browsing in that short amount of time was astounding, it was clear that this will be technology that is not get in the way of learning - too often in our school library it takes half the lesson for boys to turn a computer on and log on - with an '8 second boot-up time' there is no chance of hold ups like that!

The chromebook is a simple concept, designed for using web optimised tools to enhance learning - all the data is stored in the cloud, so the learner can take it all with them, it enhances the ubiquitous nature of the internet by allowing the students to start some work at school and then finish it off anywhere they have a connection to the web - anytime and anywhere learning (I wrote a previous blog post about this here).  It is so fast because there is no anti virus software, no random updates that take half a day to download - it it always current - through the management console you can even choose to push any settings that need changing all at once or over a period of days - you can also open or restrict the browsing experience as required.

Overall my first impressions lead me to believe that the chromebooks will really change the way I use technology to enhance learning, from here on in I don't see so much emphasis on the physical technology - the chromebook has simplified it to the point that the focus is now back on the learner and the tools that they can engage with to take them to the places that they need to go.  For more shots of the 'unboxing' ceremony have a look at the slideshow.....


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