Deploying Chromebooks for the New School Year

Written by Kajeet on August 15, 2019

Chromebooks-Blog

It’s hard to believe it’s the start of another school year, but that can be even more daunting if you have 1,000 Chromebooks in storage just waiting to be placed in the hands of eager students.

Does that sound like you? Or maybe you’ve already deployed 1:1 Chromebooks, but are you ready for the new school year with these devices?

Set up your school year for success with these tips on how to prepare and hand out your Chromebooks for the new school year.

Can You Handle IT? Update Infrastructure

Infrastructure? Isn’t deploying Chromebooks all about the students?

Well yes, but if your school infrastructure is not set up to handle the 1,000 new Chromebooks, you’re in trouble.

Here’s why:

“One trend is clear: Learning is going digital. Improved wireless access and broadband connectivity means more schools are better able to meet the modern technology needs of students and teachers." Keith Krueger, CEO, CoSN

According to the CoSN 2018-2019 Annual Infrastructure Report, here are the top five components driving the need for more Internet bandwidth:

  • #1: More students with devices
  • #2: Digital content
  • #3: Online assessments
  • #4: Streaming content
  • #5: More devices per student


As you can see, the #1 and #5 components both refer to student devices. Even if you’re updating your bandwidth abilities during the school year, improving access is critical to keep school days running.

There is good news. The CoSN report states, 69 percent of survey respondents are “very confident in their network’s ability to support one or more devices per student” when compared to 58 percent feeling very confident a year prior.

Different components to update and bolster your infrastructure include: wireless capacity, redundant connectivity, and Internet speed.

If you’re in a school building that lacks Internet access, or your Internet goes down frequently (or even just once!), contact Kajeet about our campus connectivity solutions: Connect Prime™ (primary Internet access) and Connect BackUp™ (failover Internet).

Now that your infrastructure is ready, here’s how to handle handing out Chromebooks to students.

Get Ready with Chrome Licenses

Before you fully deploy Chromebooks to your students, do you have enough Chrome Licenses? These licenses help IT teams remotely manage all Chrome devices and Google requires that schools have one license per Chromebook.

Kajeet partner, CTL, writes “This license allows administrators to configure networks, manage installation or access to applications, configure individual user access, and maintain and manage the status of each device.”

To learn more about Chrome Licenses, check out Google’s video for educators here.

1:1 Deployment: Handing Devices to Students

Part of your 1:1 deployment is actually getting these devices into the hands of students. A great time to hand out devices is at your Back-to-School event, such as a summer event or back-to-school fair, so students can pick up devices before the first day of school.

Here are some best practice tips from Kajeet customers:

  • Fully charge devices prior to the distribution event.
  • Pre-assign and bundle devices with other resources they might need (such as a Chromebook case, Wi-Fi hotspot, or details an Acceptable Use Policy).
  • Invite district technology and school-based staff to have on hand in case there are any technical problems when a child receives their device.

 

To learn more about the full process of going 1:1, check out the Kajeet “How to Roll Out Technology to Students: Best Practices Guide,” which includes even more tips from planning to implementation.

Or maybe your plan is to have the Chromebooks available for student check out in the library or media center. If that’s the case, check out this blog with tips on storing Chromebooks, such as:

  • Completely shut down Chromebooks between uses.
  • Do not stockpile batteries.
  • Store at a constant, cool temperature.

 

Regardless of where or how you decide to hand devices out to students, it’s critical to have a plan in place, especially if you have a lot of devices to hand out.

Incorporate Chromebooks for Education

Your infrastructure is ready and students have their devices, now it is time to ensure teachers incorporate digital learning into their curriculum.

The most important part to remember when adding technology to the classroom is to ensure the devices are not just used as a digital version of a paper printout, but enhance and create more opportunities for learning.

Part of a 1:1 deployment is continually providing teachers with opportunities for professional development and collaboration between peers to learn how others have incorporated technology in the classroom.

Look for inspiration? The Office of Education Technology’s National Education Technology Plan (NETP) emphasizes five different ways technology can help in the classroom:

  1. Technology can enable personalized learning or experiences that are more engaging and relevant.
  2. Technology can help organize learning around real-world challenges and project-based learning.
  3. Technology can help learning move beyond the classroom and take advantage of digital learning opportunities available in museums, libraries, and other out-of-school settings.
  4. Technology can help learners pursue passions and personal interests.
  5. Technology access when equitable can help close the digital divide and make transformative learning opportunities available to all learners.

However, the last point will not be a reality for your school or district if you have students that lack Internet access at home. When deploying Chromebooks, or any 1:1 deployment, when those devices go home, not all students have the same experience. The Digital Divide must be closed before technology access is truly equitable.

With the Kajeet Chromebook Bundle students can connect anytime, anywhere to safe, CIPA-compliant Internet access. The Bundle includes the rugged CTL Chromebook NL7, mobile Internet access with the Kajeet SmartSpot® device, data to provide students daily connectivity, the all-in-one Chromebook case designed specifically to hold both the Kajeet SmartSpot and the CTL Chromebook, and lastly, the powerful Kajeet Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution already embedded on each Chromebook.

Technology without access renders devices useless once students leave school for the day. Deploying Chromebooks is a great start to give students access and awareness of using digital tools, so why stop that learning opportunity just because the last bell has rang?

Have you run a 1:1 deployment or experienced a successful device hand-out? If so, comment below to help your fellow educators!

Topics: Digital Learning, 1 to 1, Chromebooks


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