Schools across the island of Guernsey have refreshed their computing platform with a combination of HP Chromebooks and laptops. Guernsey has invested in over 400 HP Chromebooks and nearly 600 HP mobile devices as part of a modernisation initiative. It also signed up for Google™ Apps for Education, the free suite of productivity tools that is designed to help teachers create and collect paperless assignments. In combination, they provide a low cost, flexible and durable computing infrastructure that improves the learning environment.
Challenge Upgrading the modern classroom In 2009 Guernsey undertook an ambitious project to modernise its educational institutes - the Guernsey Integrated Learning Environment (GILE). It entailed full laptop and desktop PC deployment across 22 primary schools, three secondary schools, one grammar school and the sixth form centre. However, in the ensuing years, the equipment became less reliable and prone to failure.
"Our kit was ageing and clunky with log-in times of up to 20 minutes. Clearly that isn’t acceptable in a classroom scenario," explains Lucy Witham, technology lead teacher, Guernsey Grammar School. "It was time to reinvest in our technology platform to refresh the user experience."
Working with the Minister for Education, the network of schools identified the most important criteria for new devices, namely usability, battery life and interoperability with the Google™ for Education ecosystem. It worked with UK Education specialist and HP partner XMA to choose the right machines for the students.
"We researched many different models and selected a heterogeneous blend of high-end desktops for graphic design, tablets and laptops," adds Witham. "XMA distributed sample units and surveys of different models to schools and then set up a test group to ascertain which vendors would work best in an educational environment. For the laptops, we were hugely impressed by the HP Chromebook as a cost-effective, fast and robust device.”"
Solution A flexible, durable platform for learning Guernsey purchased over 400 HP Chromebooks and nearly 600 HP mobile devices as part of this GILE II drive to modernise the IT estate, which were deployed over the course of the summer holidays. It also signed up for Google™ Apps for Education, the free suite of productivity tools that includes unlimited Online Storage for Education users, Docs, Sheets and Slides and also Google™ Classroom that is designed to help teachers create and collect paperless assignments, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google™ Document for each student.
We can buy two HP Chromebooks for every laptop so it makes a huge amount of financial sense without compromising on quality. They are fast, professional and robust and allow us to monitor and guide our students’ curriculum seamlessly
Lucy Witham, technology lead teacher, Guernsey Grammar School
"This is the first time we have come close to the original rhetoric of transforming education through technology," says Witham. "The HP Chromebooks, in conjunction with Google™ Apps for Education, create a seamless, interconnected platform that really helps bring learning to life without breaking the bank."
Students and staff can now collaborate on projects in real-time with remarks and feedback appearing instantly in the relevant document or on the interactive whiteboard.
Benefits Optimal performance with extended battery life Real-time interactivity is far from the only benefit enjoyed by the network of schools. It has in turn transformed the teaching process, so that tasks, such as grading papers, that might have taken a teacher up to a week to complete in the past, can now be done in minutes. In addition, paper consumption has reduced dramatically in line with the increase in HP Chromebook usage.
"It’s a more inclusive approach to education and one which really engages the students while relieving some of the burden on the teachers," continues Witham. "The devices last all day long and boot up within seconds. That helps keep classes moving and minimises disruption. And we no longer need to rely on printed lesson plans so we’re helping reduce our environmental impact."
The HP Chromebooks are also remarkably resilient - over the course of six months, only one screen has been damaged, courtesy of an ill-advised pen insertion. And the low price point ensures that every pupil can have access to mobile computing.
"We can buy two Chromebooks for every laptop so it makes a huge amount of financial sense without compromising on quality," says Witham. "They are fast, professional and robust and allow us to monitor and guide our students’ curriculum seamlessly."
Schools across the island are now enjoying a flexible, more productive IT platform that helps make the classroom a more interactive and engaging environment for pupils and teachers alike.
"When I originally backed the HP Chromebooks, I was sticking my neck out a little so I am delighted they have proven such a success," concludes Witham. "They have given us a versatile, professional computing platform that can easily withstand the rough and tumble of school life."
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- Instant boot up means no time is wasted in class
- Working with Google™ Apps for Education enables real-time interactivity across numerous applications and documents
- Extended battery life ensures the devices last an entire school day
- The low cost allows schools in Guernsey to extend the technology to more students
- The durability of the HP Chromebooks makes them ideal to cope with the classroom environment