Chromebooks – Frequently Asked Questions

Why have we chosen Chromebooks?

There are a wide range of tablet and laptop-style devices available on the market and St Edmund’s Catholic Academy have tested a number of devices available on the market; taking into consideration cost, reliability and cost when considering the type of device which would be best suited to students in our academy.

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, dependant on use.  Chromebook devices are managed centrally by our IT Support Team to ensure that access is safe and secure. Internet content is filtered, via Smoothwall, to ensure students can access everything they need for their studies.

Students need to be prepared for an increasingly digital world. Research has confirmed that good home access to technology has a positive impact on a child’s educational achievements; it often motivates them to do schoolwork by providing more interesting and engaging ways to learn.

Student work is often better presented so their self-esteem grows and they can explore subjects that interest them in their own time.

Chromebook Features

  • Less than 8 seconds to boot up Long battery life
  • Simple technology
  • Easy student-teacher workflow
  • Large numbers of computers can be managed centrally
  • Excellent collaboration tools
  • Works seamlessly with Google Apps for Education and other cloud based applications which all of our students and teachers already use extensively.

The following are just a few examples of what students will do at St Edmund’s Catholic Academy:

  • Create and share using GSuite
  • Use subject related apps in the classroom and at home
  • Collaborative learning.

When do we get our Chromebook for the academic year beginning September 2020?

September 2020.  To receive a Chromebook by then you must place an order by August 10 2020. Once the first payment has been received, Chromebooks will be allocated to students. The collection date will be advised later but is expected to be within the first two weeks of the new term.

How do I connect the Chromebook to the Internet at home?

Chromebooks use wireless to connect to a network so you will need WiFi at home to use the Chromebook on the Internet.  If you have WiFi, your network security key can be added to the Chromebook before log-on. If you don’t have WiFi at home, the Chromebook will still work for many things (most apps, reading eBooks, etc) but, for example, email and web browsing won’t be accessible until the Chromebook is back within the School network.

My child already has a different device. Can they use that instead?

No, as they may not be fully compatible with the Google Apps and add-ons that we will be using for teaching and learning.  The battery may not last 8 hours on a single charge and the computer may not boot up within 10 seconds from a closed lid. The device will also not be managed by the academy and therefore will not be manageable as a class learning tool.

Did you look at Windows, iPads, Mac, Linux or Android as alternatives?

Yes. We believe that iPads are great tools for consuming media but they are not as good for creating content and allowing our students to work collaboratively.  Whilst the range of applications available on iPads and Android is vast, many of the resources that teachers currently use in IT Suites would not be available. We also looked at traditional Windows, Mac and Linux laptops.  Although these devices are indeed more powerful, they are also more complex, more expensive and have poorer battery lifetimes. The simplicity of the Chromebook overcomes these barriers so that the focus will be on learning.

What if my child already has a Chromebook?

There would be difficulties with bringing your own Chromebook into school, as it would not be managed by the academy.

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. An energy research body has calculated the cost of charging a Chromebook for a year to be 87p if charged every other night. Students are responsible for bringing their charged Chromebook to school.  Please note that there will be no charging facilities available at school.

Can we have different models to choose from?

In order to achieve the economies of scale with a manufacturer which make this scheme most affordable, we cannot offer a diverse choice of devices, as the numbers taking up each option would be too low.

What technical support will there be for students?

St Edmund’s Catholic Academy IT Support team will be able to help resolve many technical issues.

Are there any Chromebook guides available?

Yes, there’s a lot of (free) guidance out there. This link is a good place to start:

http://www.chromestory.com/chromebook-user-guide/

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.

Will my child need their own Google account? 

Your child’s St Edmund’s Catholic Academy account is in fact a Gmail account and this account will be used to sign in to the Chromebook.

What is the school going to do with the current IT suites?

We will be maintaining our investment in the IT suites which run specialist software including our suites for Computer Science and Music. St Edmund’s recognises the importance of IT facilities and continues to invest significantly in this area to maintain an infrastructure that allows students to access high quality resources to support their learning. Our Chromebook scheme will allow students to access online services in every lesson across their timetable.

Who owns the Chromebook?

Legally St Edmund’s Catholic Academy owns the Chromebook until full payment has been made.

Could we buy a cheaper Chromebook and ‘opt out’ of the St Edmund’s Catholic Academy scheme?

No. There are other Chromebooks on the retail market, but we will be bulk purchasing a model that we believe can offer good value for money, is robust and designed for education.

Why can’t the school provide these devices for free?

With ever tightening budgets the school has a limited amount of funding for ICT in school and this primarily pays for the maintenance of our school network. As we are asking families to pay for the device it will belong to the student and therefore can be used outside of the school day.

What happens if the Chromebook is stolen or damaged?

The cost of the device includes insurance for accidental damage and theft.  All insurance and warranty claims are handled by Freedom Tech Ltd and any claims can be raised online at https://freedomtech.co.uk/help/.

What is St Edmund’s Catholic Academy doing to reduce e-Safety problems with the Chromebooks?

St Edmund’s Catholic Academy has a very effective web filtering system, Smoothwall, and all devices attached to our network go through this web filter. St Edmund’s Catholic Academy will be actively monitoring students’ Chromebooks whilst used in school.  We will be able to look at web filter logs should an issue become apparent. Students are already taught the importance of e-Safety through PSHE, IT lessons and assemblies. This will be continually reinforced.

How will the Chromebook be backed up?

The Chromebook is always backed up and our students have unlimited storage space in G Suite for Education.