Discovering Chromebook Has Transformed Learning And Teaching At Pioneering Primary School
When Neil Hall took over as Head of IT at Southbourne Junior School, days were spent wheeling around a laptop trolley from classroom to classroom. As any teacher will know, equipment failings can be one of the most time-consuming and frustrating factors within education.
The school’s IT support resource spent two hours a week on-site and was in high demand. The rest of the time staff were forced to work around IT problems which meant devices were often either abandoned altogether or used to a fraction of their full capabilities. Even when everything was in full working order, IT time in the classroom was minimal. A timetabled activity for an hour a week, IT lessons focused on teaching general office skills such as word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. The internet was used for research and teachers lost confidence in utilising IT within other subject areas.
With the support from Headteacher, Luke Hanna, Neil began researching what other schools were doing. It was on a visit to another school that they witnessed a group of pupils utilising Chromebooks that they decided to research them further.
Having contacted Google for guidance, the school was directed to XMA. Following the success of the pioneering allLearn programme which was already a market leader with iPad, XMA were about to launch allLearn with Chromebook. This was the start of a long-term, collaborative partnership with XMA providing guidance and support on Southbourne Junior School’s mobile device deployment. Through this partnership, Southbourne Junior School has currently deployed over 140 Chromebooks to their learners.
Mr Hanna said: “We have chosen to move to Google Apps and Chromebooks as they provide a system that is easy to manage any number of devices, from our first Chromebook and as the project scales. With web-based applications and storage, staff and pupils can work from anywhere using a shared platform, eliminating servers and the issues they bring. XMA have been friendly, supportive and available whenever we have needed them, making the transition smooth and stress free.” XMA worked with the school to explore their specific requirements.
Some of the main features of Chromebook result in hidden cost savings. With Chromebook web based operating system, regular updates are delivered automatically, saving precious IT resource time manually installing patches. User data and settings are stored in Google Cloud, which means devices can be easily shared. Data is backed up in the event of a device being lost and they don’t need to be imaged after each academic year.
Google’s Online Management Console, included for each Chromebook, allows teachers to react instantly, whether it be introducing or changing firewalls and filters or deploying Apps to devices. Google Apps for Education allow users to work collaboratively on the same documents at the same time from multiple locations. School staff have also found it much easier to manage multiple user groups and updates can be made centrally.
Since introducing Chromebooks, use of IT across the curriculum has increased significantly. Due to their relative ease of use, teachers have embraced them quickly and are using them in lessons across the curriculum. Further to this, Chromebooks are helping to facilitate communication between the school and parents. Pupils create their own web pages to store homework and information, which can be seen by parents as well as teachers in the classroom.
Southbourne Junior School plans to become an IT specialist school. They will be one of the first schools in the UK to have three of their existing teaching staff accredited as Google Educators.
Children leaving Southbourne Junior School will be equipped with basic knowledge and understanding of the very latest technology, placing them at an advantage for further education and their future career. A high percentage of the jobs that our children will be doing in the future don’t currently exist and one way to skill up children for these roles is to give them access to the very latest, cutting edge technology and encourage them to use this technology productively to aid learning.
XMA remain on hand to help, support and advise. Through two in-house educational experts, Dr. Steve Bunce and David Ryan, both educators themselves – XMA offers first-hand knowledge of how technology can enhance the learning environment and support both staff and learners in the pedagogical application of Chromebook in the classroom.