5 Reasons why Chromebooks are brilliant teaching and learning tools
By Nick Acton
Google’s place in Education is an ever-growing phenomenon. The search engines power is undeniable and frankly, useful. Being the monopoly that they are, enables them to develop and deliver unrivalled services across the internet. The company have gifted the world unbelievably useful productivity and educational applications. These groups of applications are affectionally known as the G Suite. Apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, Classroom, Forms, Translate, Sites, Mail etc.
These applications are just as good as any of their parallel’s from other companies and they are absolutely free! Whats more, Google Apps are available on almost anything that can connect to the internet. This cross-platform ethos is very useful. It means that you can gain access to your Google based work on any device. With that in mind, a simple and valid question is often raised. Why would anyone invest in Google Chromebooks? There are many good answers to that question. In this blog, I will attempt to cover as many of the aspects revolving around this query as possible. Why would you invest in Chromebooks as a Teaching and Learning device in your classroom?
1) The G Suite for Education
First and foremost, whilst you can download the Google Apps on other devices, it is important to recognise that Chromebooks are built with the G Suite of applications in mind.
2) Instant On and Not Slowing Down
What seems like such a minor factor can mean the world to a teacher. The Chromebooks turn on and are fully operational within seconds. Because the large majority of the device’s functionality is cloud-based the machine itself has very little to ‘boot up’. In other words, most of what is created on a Chromebook is not stored locally on the device itself. The work is automatically saved to Google Drive and therefore the memory of the technology is largely irrelevant. This means that the Chromebook itself is free to be fast and reliable. What's more, there is no chance of a Chromebook slowing down with age. In fact, they can only get faster! As Google develop their operating systems and internet connections continue to speed up so will the devices.
3) Personalisation and Flexibility
4) Chrome Management
I will try to explain how this is achievable in the most uncomplicated way possible. Firstly, every child needs to log in to their Google Account when they use a Chromebook. This gives them access to the ‘G Suite for Education’ and also links them to an overarching School Account. This set up is very meaningful for classroom teachers. Essentially, a teacher can add all of their pupils into classes. They can then set up resources like web pages, links to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms etc. All of these resources and content can automatically load on the children’s individual screens as soon as they log in. This power enables teachers to set up most of the lesson before the children have even touched a Chromebook. It also means some of the technicalities linked to using technological devices are softened. This, in turn, makes the learning objectives easier to achieve. For younger children, setting the lesson up in this way could be the difference between them achieving an objective and not achieving it. Guiding children through the functionality of Chromebooks is made easy by the Chrome Management.
5) Future-Proofing and Continuity
Finally, it is important to not forget who is behind the technology. Google have become one of the most powerful and successful companies in the world. They have made their name by providing quality online services. The fact is that they are not going to go anywhere any time soon. At this point, it can only get bigger and better. That statement is important for two reasons. Firstly, the platform provides an educational foundation that will be available to children as they progress throughout education. Therefore, teachers can confidently provide a continuous technological education by going down a Google route in their classroom. Secondly, Chromebooks are becoming and are already an essential part of many industries. Because of its productivity and logistical advancements, the G Suite for Business is fast becoming a real contender in the workplace. In other words, it is likely that many children will go into jobs that are built around an entirely Google Infrastructure. The world at one point looked to be going 50/50. Some people used Microsoft and the other half chose Apple. I would argue that the ratio is being irreversibly changed by the introduction of Chromebooks. So, to successfully prepare your children for their futures, Google must have a place within their Education.
I’m sure there are many more reasons that Chromebooks are edging into our schools in the UK. Not least of all the prices. Whatever the reason is, the truth of it is that they are incredibly good. They can make an impact in your classroom and stretch the abilities of your children. They can help you to organise the pathway of learning. They can even offer personalised educational experiences. Above all, however, they can make your day-to-day easier just like Google Search has been for years.
Nick Acton is a Trainer Specialist at JTRS as well as being a part-time Computing and Music teacher. Through the creation of bespoke training, Nick specialises in empowering educators so they can embed technologies into their day-to-day classroom practice.
If you liked this article, read why Google Apps are changing the classroom.