Technology News

The Chromebooks That Saved The Day!!!

posted Apr 11, 2018, 9:00 AM by Tech Director   [ updated Apr 11, 2018, 9:06 AM ]

The Chromebooks That Saved The Day.

Testing season is upon us and I've heard is the calmest, least stressful part of the school year.   This is my first experience with the testing cycle but reliable sources tell me that things seem to be going smoother than they had in the past.
Even though we tried to prep our hearty but aging PCs to enter the testing fray many of them struggled with processing and connection problems which could have disastrous for the testing process.  Fortunately we had a whole stable of heroic Chromebooks on standby ready to save the day.  The whole event started looking promising for the PCs after successful updating of the testing apps and a trial run with the text to speech components but my feelings of pride and accomplishment faded quickly when I got a visit from one of the kiddos who told me the computer kept kicking him out of his test.  So I headed to the Elementary computer lab to fix this little problem thinking it was just a small glitch.  As I entered the room I noticed a majority of the students had their hands up and saw connection errors from the NWEA app on their screens.  Disheartened but not defeated I went to work trying to correct the problems and get our young scholars back to the business of testing but for each issue fixed another problem arose.  The instructors and I battled the connection troubles for about ten minutes at which point the backup plan was in the Chromebooks.  

A few weeks ago we had our new shipment of Chromebooks come in much sooner than I had expected so I had spent a few days over the weekend of their delivery getting them ready for service at the beginning of next school year.   The new units were all setup,charged up but just sitting on the shelves waiting for the months to fly by until suddenly the early call to action came in.  This was actually a good opportunity to stress test the new Chromebooks and address any issues that popped up while they are still early in their warranty period.  The last batch had a few with power problems but we didn't have a chance to test them until the later part of their warranty period.

I performed a "Fast Walk" maneuver down the hallway (because we can't run in the hallways) to the tech office where a cart of twenty ready for action Chromebooks waited to go into the trenches.  We quickly set up the Chromebooks and used the kiosk apps to effortlessly open the NWEA testing site.  The Chromebook trial by fire was about to begin.  All of the students began to log in at the same time so if there was going to be a problem it would happen here and now.  I watched and anxiously waited as the testers typed in their testing credentials, the proctor authorized the group and there it was on all of the screens the sapphire colored button with white letters that read "Start Test".  There were no connection errors, no time outs, no locked white screens just the smiling faces of the excited students ready to take these awesome tests and all thanks to the Chromebooks that saved the day.

This is a true story but some of the names have been changed to protect the ridiculous.

"The Chromebooks Are Coming!!!"

posted Mar 29, 2018, 2:46 PM by Tech Director   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 2:52 PM ]

If you haven't worked with them yet don't blink because you will soon enough.  We now have enough Chromebooks to achieve a 1:1 ratio for students in the 5th grade and up.  That being said I have been a Windows user and have provided support primarily for Windows networks for almost 20 years so believe me when I say I understand the perceived technology shock of using google to do all of my Windows work.  Let me tell you that it's not that bad I promise.  Google does some things a little different but you will find that 95% of the features in the Microsoft equivalent are waiting for you in the corresponding google app and the other 5% will be along soon.  If you take a moment and google what you want to do in docs, sheets, slides or any of the google apps you will find guides, documents and videos that show you the way.  If we want the students to use the Chromebooks to their fullest potential we need to embrace the change first...the good, the bad, and the frustrating.  So this is my call to action join me in trying to use more google than windows everyday and we will all be google geniuses in no time flat!

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