Chromebooks: No One Even Notices the Tech

Chromebooks: No One Even Notices the Tech

Google Chromebooks are living up to everything I thought they’d be in the classroom and for school-wide events: nearly instant-on, transparent, fast, and highly capable.

  1. School wide, we used these for election voting. During all-day voting, the Chromebooks went 8 hours without charging (about 20%+ remaining) and had zero technical issues even with over 1,000 users logging in and voting on a Google Form. At the end of the day, no one even noticed the technology during the voting
  2. In the classroom, 100s of learners used the Chromebooks for a variety of learning opportunities: collaborative work space development, research space development, individual and peer-to-peer writing, and student choice of project development such as videos. At the end of each class, no one even noticed the technology during the learning.
  3. Individually, I have given a Chromebook to a variety of students to “play” without both during school and at home. Each student said the same thing after weeks of use for a variety of classroom experiences with zero technical issues: great device perfect for a Google Apps environment. At the end of the day, no one even noticed the technology during the playing and learning.
And that is what is so important: “the technology was like oxygen” where it was critical but not an obstacle. The entire focus was on engagement and learning, on playing and personalizing, and simply on using. No one even noticed the technology during the moment.
When the moments ended, then both student and teacher noticed with statements like “wow… that is how it is suppose to be”.

One, yes, one Technical Issue

Sadly, we did have one technical issue during a classroom use (yes, all of these uses and one technical issue):

  • The wireless dropped and didn’t pick back up on one Chromebook.
  • We powered down and powered back up in 10 seconds.
  • It reconnected and all the work that the student had been working on instantly reappeared. Nothing lost!
  • With a smile and a “wow”, the learner went back to learning.
No technician required. No service ticket. No waiting for someone to come rescue. Almost no disruption to the learning environment (15 seconds). Really?!!

No Desktop vs. New Desktop

The feedback from students about these devices continues to be stellar when discussed in the context of what it does for their learning. A few of the students discussed the lack of a desktop as different. Not bad nor good… just different. Luckily, I had a developer Chromebook to share with these students.

The reaction? It is valuable. It is an easier entry-point and the “launchpad”-like piece makes the app store more accessible. It gives them the familiar feel of their iPhone and iPad so they quickly explored available apps unlike the non-desktop Chromebook. Interesting…

New Thinking

The Chromebooks (like other devices) force a new way of thinking, mindset shifts that I think are long needed and very valuable.

For example, we don’t have printing setup on our Chromebooks, so students put aside active reading until they had access to it. However, I showed students how to add the Snippy extension and clip webpages to Google Docs. There, they could collaboratively complete the active reading and make their thinking public. This excited them and provided a realization they didn’t need printing!

These new workflows are mindset shifts for both students and teachers. However, they offer great opportunity for meaningful shifts if we are willing to engage in the possibilities.

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