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Not too long ago, computers in most schools were relegated to the library or media lab, with students only having access to them during designated class periods or for special projects. When computers did start making their way into main classrooms, it was usually one or two desktops at a time and students would be required to take turns. Now, it is an expectation in many classrooms that each student will have their own personal learning device on which to access and complete work.
The pandemic showed teachers, administrators, students, and parents how 1-to-1 technology can enhance learning, teaching, and collaboration. Because of COVID-19, many school districts implemented the use of Chromebooks for every student in the classroom, and more districts are joining the movement even though remote learning has ended.
Thanks to the Chrome OS, students can login to a school Chromebook at home and have their whole classroom with them wherever they go. While requiring Chromebooks for your students can provide great educational benefits, it also comes with unique challenges. How much will it cost, and who will be paying for it? If we require students to acquire their own device, what do we do about the families that can’t afford it? How do we manage a large fleet of devices and ensure that students are using them properly both in the classroom and at home? What is the best Chromebook for students 2022?
We know that implementing a broad new technology program for an entire school district is not something that can or should be taken lightly. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide for using Chromebooks in schools.
The Cost of Chromebooks for Education
Giving out technology to students, especially those in early elementary school, might seem like a risky financial investment. Just like kids aren’t known for being gentle, laptops aren’t known for being particularly durable. So, just how much are school Chromebooks worth, and does that investment make sense for K-12 students?
Chromebook prices vary, but some Chromebooks are priced as low as $99. These are great for younger students who need just basic access to the internet for a virtual classroom. For Chromebooks for education, $99 is just about the right amount for elementary school. The best Chromebook for younger students is probably not the best Chromebook for high school students. If you teach middle or high schoolers and need something a little more sophisticated, premium options like the Dell Chromebook are a bit more expensive, between $200-$300 such as the Dell chromebook 3100 touchscreen, Dell chromebook 3100 Education, and the Dell Chromebook 3110. The Dell Chromebook 11 specs are also compelling. If you are purchasing Chromebooks for educational settings in bulk, you may also be able to get discounts on the price per computer.
The good thing about Chromebooks is that they are far sturdier than other laptops, which is ideal for your youngest students. Students can get many years of use out of a device that is relatively inexpensive when compared to other laptop models. If your district is requiring parents to purchase their students’ own devices, advertise the more affordable options that are available when you launch your program. Certain programs provide free Chromebooks for low-income students. When it became obvious that technology in classrooms would be a permanent fixture, free Chromebooks for students 2021 programs started being rolled out. In fact, as soon as you announce such a program, you should almost immediately expect emails from parents asking, “How can I get a free Chromebook for my child?”
If you are going to require that all students in your district have a personal Chromebook to complete their studies without providing them yourself, take the time to put together a complete list of local organizations who may be able to help those families without the financial means to provide this crucial learning tool for their children. Both large national organizations and local groups may be able to provide assistance.
If you meet certain criteria in one Texas county, for example,, you can get a free Chromebook. Harris County Library System was able to partner directly with Google to provide a free Chromebook for students who qualify. While the Library system still paid for the devices that they distributed to the community, Google and Dell collaborated with the library’s management and technical team to determine which Chromebook would best fit students’ needs and help them build a cost-effective package. You can always Google free Chromebook for students to find out what assistance might be available in your area.
While your school district might not be in the position to provide every student with their own Chromebook, some districts have purchased a limited number of Chromebooks to distribute at no cost to their low-income students. Your district would have to determine what the qualification criteria would be, how many students it would include, and how many Chromebooks they would be able to purchase.
For examples of a free Chromebook program that has been successful, you could look to the Los Angeles Unified School District for guidance. Thanks to a program providing free Chromebook for students, LAUSD has helped level the playing field for all students in ensuring that each child has the same access to vital learning technology. If your district needs help meeting your students’ needs, you may be able to apply for grants that will allow you to provide free Chromebooks for students 2022 school year.
Setting Up and Managing Chromebooks for Schools
Access to the internet is a wonderful teaching tool for students, but it also opens the door to potentially inappropriate content and can serve as a distraction from classwork. Chrome devices are easy for students to learn to use to complete their schoolwork, and easy for them to learn to use for other purposes as well. You can, of course, restrict certain sites and apps, but technology-savvy kids usually find ways to circumvent that. Even younger students won’t take too long to figure out how to add a personal account to their school Chromebook if blocked. They know what to do on a school Chromebook when you’re bored, and how to login to a school Chromebook at home. As long as they have an internet connection, they have the ability to focus on something other than their schoolwork. If you are allowing students to use a personal Chromebook, you give yourself even less control over what they can and cannot access. To some extent, you will have to take these downsides with the many benefits classroom technology provides. Accept that you can’t fully restrict every function on a device, at least not in a way that enterprising students won’t find a way around.
Where you can’t manage devices, manage students. Set clear expectations for technology use and repair policies.
Also, keep a detailed inventory of every Chromebook you distribute, its specs, and the condition it was issued in. This makes it easier to flag potential problems and misuse of technology. If you catch a student repeatedly violating the school’s technology, they can have their Chromebook locked by an administrator and further discipline implemented.
The Chrome Education upgrade makes your job as a system administrator even easier when you’re setting up Chromebooks for schools. When you purchase a Chrome Education license, you have enhanced capabilities to control both user and device settings. All Chromebooks come equipped with the full suite of Google Education tools, but this is one of the best Chrome upgrades to help you better manage what users have access to on their device, provide advanced security features, and simplify the deployment process for large fleets of Chromebooks. The Chrome Education upgrade cost is less than $40 for each device license.
Different Chromebooks Available
A school-wide or district-wide Chromebook program is an investment for your Board of Education or Board of Trustees. You want computers that will last for many years to come and provide your students with everything they need to get the most out of their education. The best Chromebook for your students as the 2022 school year kicks off will depend on the age group using them and what your curriculum demands. While more basic options, like the $99 Chromebook offered might be just what elementary school students need, for middle and high school students you may want to invest in Chromebooks designed by a trusted laptop computer brand.
Here’s some advice: Since students have to carry around their laptops with them, 11-inch screens offer a decent display size that is still compact enough to transport. Some students and teachers prefer touchscreen devices for educational purposes. If you feel like students need a larger display size, many 14" models are also available. 14" Chromebook prices vary depending on the model you get. If you buy a new 2022 model, expect to pay more than for an older version.
Need help implementing your school’s new Chromebook program? Schedule a meeting with the CTL sales team to get started.
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