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ISTE 2013 – Chromebook Classrooms

June 25, 2013

Chromebook Classrooms

This is a Birds of a Feather Session, where the idea is to have some folks that are doing something similar, share their experiences in the hopes of helping others. This particular session had three presenters from three different school districts talk about their projects, putting Chromebooks into the hands of their students.

Richland School District Two
1:1 complete in August for Grades 3-12 with over 22,000 Chromebooks
High School: Take home
Middle School: Homeroom model
Elementary: Carts

Scaling up the initiative
School Level Professional Development
Continuous Quality Improvement
Student Ownership

Planning and Implementation Site:

Self-insured: $50 per year.

Fond du Lac High School
Michael from Wisconsin. 2400 Chromebook devices at the high school. The 3 middle schools will have 300 devices each, on carts for the 2013-2014 school year.
Key for them: Taking a teacher out of existing classrooms to lead this initiative.

Three pillars for successful 1:1 success

Infrastructure – network, wireless AP, bandwidth (put an ap in every classroom, and in the hallways) Also put in 1 GB of Internet???

Professional Development – Fostering support for 1:1 in your school community. Assess staff skillset (ITP), admin support and modeling, develop PD training sessions, differentiate for staff skillset, provide support

Integration – substitutive, transformative, classroom management

Michael: Ripped off the Microsoft band-aid and no longer use any Microsoft products. They also convinced everyone to convert their files to Google Docs format, which means they don’t take up any space on their Google Drive. Convinced school admin to model using Google Docs too!

Had to do substantial training on Classroom Management: If you have classroom management issues prior to 1:1, it will get worse!

  • Behavior Matrix for Classroom
  • Lids 45’d or Closed
  • “One Tab Open”
  • Circulate the room
  • Install WatchDoc Chrome extension

Lessons Learned

  • Infrastructure Readiness
  • Insurance for ALL – went with third party (About $35 per device, $25 deductible)
  • Replacement Parts
  • Administration involvement
  • Classroom Management
  • Kids are very resourceful and smart
  • Loaner Chromebooks (in case a student doesn’t charge)

FYI – Really liked the series 3 Chromebooks, lots of breakage and issues with series 5. Like the Lenovos as they seem to be like a tank, and are really solid. Series 3 has a 6.5 hour battery life.

Research Study Results:

Kerr High School
Alief ISD Houston, Texas

  • Small High School of choice (by application)
  • district located in SW Houston
  • small pilot program
  • district is not a Google EDU
  • no management console

Positive Feedback

  • very fast login and Internet access
  • lightweight
  • the students love them
  • some excellent free apps
  • low cost
  • long battery life


  • no management console – apps had to be installed individually on each unit. No ability to create setting on each without touching each one.
  • difficulties with our proxy
  • the need for each student to have a gmail account – we required a parent permission slip for the student to create a gmail account

Student and Teacher Feedback

  • Excellent for a quick tool to pick up for fast research
  • Some great apps (particularly for science)
  • teachers have not needed to do any tech support – they gave that a big thumbs up!
  • They love them and want more!


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