Feb 03 2022

K–12 Districts Choose Chromebooks for Educators to Elevate Teaching and Learning

Popular as student devices, Chromebooks are a dynamic and powerful tool for educators in the classroom and at home.

With quarantines, staffing shortages and virtual learning days, a technology problem is the last interruption educators need when they have students’ attention. Whether a teacher is using a computer to present supplementary materials or take the class on a virtual field trip, there’s often a small window of time to capture and maintain a student’s interest. That window doesn’t allow for a 10-minute reboot or a call to the IT department when the device malfunctions. To prevent these potential holdups, K–12 IT departments are turning to Chromebooks for educators, which deliver a high-performance, user-friendly experience to those on the front lines of education.

“One of the worst things is having to get started with your class, and then all of a sudden there’s some tech or IT issue in that key moment,” says Racha Slaoui, product manager for Chrome OS at Google. By choosing Chromebooks as educator devices, K–12 IT administrators can eradicate interruptions to learning for in-person and virtual classrooms.

EXPLORE: Google Chrome OS solutions from CDW•G support dynamic, powerful K–12 education.

The Allure of the Chromebook for Students Now Attracts Teachers

It’s no secret that a student’s Chromebook can be one of the most helpful tools in education. There are no headaches with saving work, sharing computers and documents, or integrating additional apps and programs, among other tasks. Students especially love the simplicity of logging in one time, then being able to access all the programs and applications they need immediately.

But when a teacher doesn’t have access to the same type of device as a student, it’s harder to troubleshoot technical issues, teach digital literacy and share information between computers. Now, the dynamic and powerful devices that have accompanied students through virtual, in-person and hybrid learning are available to educators in a wide range of options, and having that same device streamlines the classroom interaction.

“Chromebooks are a great solution because they’re intuitive,” Slaoui says. “They’re built for the cloud and seamlessly integrated with the class so that you never lose anything.”

MORE ON EDTECH: Cloud technology continues to trend in K–12 education.

With Chromebooks, Teaching Is Simpler in Elementary Education

Teachers in K–6 settings have unique needs that Google is looking to address with Chromebooks. Research shows that the average attention span for young students ranges from just 12 to 24 minutes, so there’s no time to waste solving a computer problem.

Chromebooks have 55 percent fewer unplanned outages than their counterpart devices, according to an IDC InfoBrief report sponsored by Google. There is also 59 percent less time spent on maintenance, the report concludes. Additionally, updates happen automatically behind the scenes and don’t interfere with lesson plans or short class periods. “It’s friction-free, and there’s no downtime,” Slaoui says. The quick boot-up time is also beneficial in elementary classrooms.

73%

The percentage of time saved rebooting a Chromebook compared with other devices

Source: IDC, “The Economic Value of Chromebooks for Education,” May 2020

“What we hear a lot from schools is that touch is a huge, important factor,” Slaoui notes. “For math, being able to write with the finger or a stylus is super important, so we’ve made sure that, for younger students, we have a lot of touch options at a more affordable price point.” Chromebooks are also built to operate smoothly with additional apps educators might be trying to pair and manage, so they can guide students through these apps as well. The devices can run apps in a virtual environment while simultaneously running large video calls.

Chromebooks Allow Educators to Support Older School Students

Middle and high school students spend more time learning on computers since the pandemic began, so Google and its manufacturing partners have worked to make older students’ experience more user friendly, with larger screens for more comfortable reading and a stylus for note taking, content creation and more.

“Increasingly, schools are setting up career technical education curricula where students can gain skills that they can showcase upon graduation, to get jobs,” Slaoui explains, pointing to science, technology, engineering and math classes that teach coding, graphic design and 3D modeling. “So, teachers need devices that support these classes and heavier workloads.”

LEARN MORE: Logitech Pen serves as a stylus for Chromebooks in the K–12 classroom.

Slaoui says there have been more requests for virtual desktop infrastructure that can run Adobe and other programs students might need on their Chromebooks. Setting up VDI for teachers and students allows them to access more features and programs without an old-fashioned computer lab where the programs were preloaded onto desktop computers and only available there.

“All of their required infrastructure is in the cloud, so you can basically run any type of advanced app on your Chromebook without any limitation to hardware specs and without investing hundreds of dollars,” Slaoui says. “You can use this infrastructure to stream these apps.” She adds that districts have been “superhappy” with the budget-friendly idea of repurposing their current Chromebook fleets by setting up VDI, especially as schools go in and out of remote learning.

Lighten the Load on K–12 IT Departments

If staff computers are working as expected, both in the building and in virtual settings, IT teams are freed up to troubleshoot for students, implement additional professional development and tackle other responsibilities. Chromebooks allow all educators to collaborate on the same interface, so they can work together or independently to create assignments, edit photos or videos and manage tasks securely in the cloud. Choosing Chromebooks for educators comes with other benefits to help reduce the strain on IT teams as well.

Racha Slaoui
They’re built for the cloud and seamlessly integrated with the class so that you never lose anything.”

Racha Slaoui Product Manager for Chrome OS, Google

These devices won’t run out of space, even after decades of creating and storing lesson plans and student work, and educators can rest assured that their computer will turn on even if a student bumps into their coffee, thanks to spillproof keyboards and scratch-resistant Gorilla glass.

Chromebooks also have up to eight years of supported updates, which means IT departments can confidently deploy them within their current hardware refresh cycle. Plus, Chromebooks are one of the safest options for educators, as there has never been a ransomware attack reported on a Chrome OS device. IT admins can trust the security built in to the device and put their cybersecurity energy elsewhere.

With these devices, there is no need for additional cameras for virtual learning thanks to the built-in front or rear camera, and advanced biometrics, in the form of a fingerprint sign-in, increases security if a student accidentally — or intentionally — grabs the teacher’s computer.

Finally, Chromebooks are helping to solve the digital divide highlighted by the pandemic. With the introduction of eSIM to more Chromebook models, IT professionals don’t need to deal with SIM cards, a mission Chromebooks accelerated during the pandemic to assist students and teachers who don’t have consistent internet access at home.

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Illustration by Nando Storalic

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