Chromebooks: Day 1 and 2

New Chromebook Pilot -machines have arrived

On December 6th, Day 1, I had an occasion to use the new set of Chromebooks in each of the four classes I teach. There are going to be so many little lessons and take-aways along the way. Here are a few.

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New Chromebook Pilot -machines have arrived

In Period 1, we were at a spot  in the course where we needed to make a short blog post. We’ve used our Edublogs account several times in this class, so this should have been a relatively safe way to break in the Chromebooks.  And it was.  I had 28 students in this class so if there were lots of the 30 machines with issues, this would be a disaster.  There were the usual, “I can’t remember my login email/password” issues and it soon became clear that some machines were not connecting to the wifi– they needed a password that I don’t have access to. I pulled three machines that were getting the same password issue and set them aside so that we did not encounter the same issues repeatedly during the day; this meant that some students had to use their phones ( happily) to complete the activity.   Take aways:

  •  Students struggled with the mouse pad.
  • Part of the assignment required a copy and paste. Many students had no idea that Contol+C , Control+V existed, or that you needed to press them at the same time.
  • We often access the blog site via a QR code. This is a current road block with the Chromebooks.  I’m assuming there will be some type of QR code solution, or at least I hope so…I rely on QR codes a lot to have students access sites.
  • The students enjoyed the key pads for typing better than the iPad keyboards (and I liked that there weren’t any dead keyboards, etc.)

In Period 2, we had a review game using Kahoot. I had all students use the Chromebooks so that a) the playing field was equal, and b) I was able to deal with all log in issues at one time. As these were grade 12s, they had not used computers as much as the grade 10s in Period 1. Many students could not remember the “magic numbers” for their new PRRD8.ca logins, so I had to look those up. Two students had not logged on to the computer a single time this year, so they were not able to log into the  Chromebooks at all. These students used their phones to play Kahoot, and had a definite advantage with the touch screen.  Take aways:

  • You can play Kahoot on the Chromebooks, but the mouse pad makes it less effective than a touch screen.

In Period 3 and 4, we used the devices to do an activity on Socrative that required typing. The activity itself took less than 5 minutes. When we’ve used Socrative on the iPads, students just click on the app.  On the Chromebooks, students had to Google ‘Socrative’, had to click on “student login”….this made many more places for students to get lost the first time.  Added to the time spent logging into the device, which doesn’t have to happen on the iPads, the Chrome books were more time consuming for a quick activity, especially the time spent plugging and unplugging them from the cart!  Take aways:

  • Is there a Socrative App that can be installed or accessed? Will I be able to accomplish this, or will I have to ask to get someone to install it?

Overall, I realized how efficient our little iPad cart system is. Having students get bunched up waiting to plug in their Chromebook is a big time waster. On day 2, I tried leaving the Chromebooks on desks when the next block was using them. This was a good time saver which I will continue to employ.

Still lots of questions:

  • Will we soon have access to Google classroom? I don’t even know what a Google access will require? Another login to remember?
  • How will Office 365 behave? Will it be as painful as using it on the iPads?
  • Will I have to redo all QR code access?
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