Answers to some of the commonly asked questions:
Why have we selected Chromebooks?+
There are a wide range of tablet and laptop-style devices available on the market and Tadcaster Grammar School conducted pilot schemes and extensive research when considering the type of device which would be best suited to students in our school. A Chromebook looks like a laptop in appearance but operates in a very different way with students accessing services and apps online. The Chromebook operating system is produced by Google who provide a wealth of apps and services which are specifically designed to support students in education. Chromebook devices boot-up in a matter of seconds and have a battery life that lasts up to 8 hours, dependent on use. Chromebook devices are managed centrally by our IT Support Team to ensure that access is safe and secure. Internet content is filtered for inappropriate content to ensure students can access everything they need for their school work.
Will my child need their own Google account, if so, how will the school be able to put apps on their Chromebook?+
Your child’s school email account is in fact a Google account and will be used when they are in school. The school will use management software to enable it to distribute apps to any Chromebook registered with it and effectively will ‘gift’ the app to the device.
How will the Chromebook be backed up?+
The Chromebook is always backed up, our students have unlimited storage space in Google Cloud. This is already set up and associated with their School email address.
Teaching with Chromebooks+
We have been trialling Chromebooks for a little while but, importantly, we have all been working with the Google apps suite (which will provide the main part of our learning apps). Teachers’ expertise has been growing throughout this time. All students already work with Google Apps and associated cloud storage and our first term of Computing lessons is dedicated to teaching students how to work effectively across all subjects using Google Apps. We are developing a specialist teacher team of Chromebook users who are being given additional support and developing their practice so that they can help other teachers they work alongside with.
Why can’t the school provide these devices for free?+
The school has a limited amount of funding for ICT in school, which primarily pays for the maintenance of our school network. The device will belong to the student and be able to be used outside of the school day. It is a key element of our strategy that we are as flexible as we can be with the payment arrangements and this will include, for instance, paying by installments over a number of months.
Could we buy a cheaper chromebook?+
Although you might find a cheaper Chromebook, the device chosen by the school is a particularly rugged version, made with younger people in mind, and we also include a case with this device. There is also a three year warranty, three years insurance, and a Google G-Suite for Education licence included in the scheme.
Journey to and from school?+
In our research with other 1:1 schools we have asked if they’d ever experienced a student being robbed on the way to school/home and they all said that this had never happened. However, it is sensible to reduce the risk of theft through some common sense measures; students should keep their Chromebook in their bag on the way to and from school, both for road safety and crime prevention reasons. This is advisable both if travelling by bus or on foot. For a number of years we have also offered lockers to students in school, and this will be the case again in September. Chromebooks can be disabled to prevent reselling if lost or stolen.
Is the battery good enough? How will charging work?+
Chromebooks have a battery life of 8+ hours. This varies depending on what the Chromebook is being used for. As long as students charge the Chromebook overnight, it will last all day. Students are responsible for bringing their charged Chromebook to school.
Can my child put their own content onto the Chromebook (music, video, apps)?+
Yes, your child should treat the Chromebook as their own. A big part of the success of this scheme will rely on students valuing the Chromebook as part of their wider life and therefore taking care of it, charging it and bringing it to school every day. Storage space is provided via the Google domain that the school provides and will be unlimited and so students can store all of their own files, and still have ample space left for school-provided apps and content. Please note students who use the school domain (tgsch.uk) to store personal data will need to remember to move it to a personal account before leaving the school.
I’m concerned about my child’s data being stored on Google.+
What happens if my child leaves the school before the end of the payment period?+
In this case, we would prefer that you pay the remaining balance (the total payment for the remaining months) before your child leaves and then you could take ownership of the Chromebook. We recognise that this might not always be possible and given we own the Chromebook until the final payment has been received we would need to take possession of the Chromebook.
What happens if my child accidentally damages their chromebook?+
The devices will be covered for accidental damage, and there will be access to claim forms through the school website. If they need to use one during a lesson, there will be some available to borrow during the school day.
How will inappropriate use of the Chromebook at school be dealt with?+
Students and parents will be required, as they are now, to sign up to an Acceptable Use Agreement which set out some simple rules to ensure things go smoothly. They will also be expected to read and adhere to the school e-Safety policy which is available to view on the school website.
Are there any Chromebook and G-Suite guides available?+
Yes, there’s a lot of (free) guidance out there. This link is a good place to start:
Get the most out of G Suite at school with guides, tips, examples, and other training resources: https://gsuite.google.com/learning-center/#!/
We will make sure all of our students receive the teaching input to get them up and running with their new Chromebooks when they are issued. It is important to us that everyone, teachers, students and parents/carers, feel capable and confident with the Chromebooks.
Don’t young people already have too much ‘screen time’?+
There are obvious concerns about young people spending too much time in front of a screen, whether it be a smart phone, tablet or computer. We are not proposing that our students’ lessons will become entirely ICT based however, and use of the chromebooks will be an additional opportunity, rather than a replacement for the excellent teaching strategies already evident here at school. We know too that many parents have sound arguments for restricting access to social media sites, computer gaming and excessive internet browsing, but if educational ICT access is sacrificed in order to cut down ‘screen time’, then we are not setting the boundaries in the right place. For parents with these concerns, you could consider the following:
- Does your child have a high or unlimited data allowance on their phone? Change their phone plan to one with a lower limit, in order to ‘cap’ access to social media and the internet.
- Does your child access the internet through your home wifi? Switch off your router in the evening, or regularly change a password to restrict usage.
- Have you set privacy settings correctly with your broadband provider? Ask them how to restrict access to inappropriate content using parental controls.