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In our High School classes, we use Chromebooks for their online courses and research needs.  We are proud to be a part of the Google Apps for Education program and provide each student with their own account for their email and storage needs.

What is a Chromebook?

Chromebooks look like a laptop but instead of running on Windows, iOS or Linux Operating systems, it runs on the Google Chrome operating system.  It’s very familiar if you already use the Chrome browser.  Chromebooks also differ from regular laptops in that you do not store anything on the Chromebook hard drive itself (or at least very little).  Everything is stored online so it can be accessible from any computer.

Advantages of a Chromebook include the following:

  • It starts up in seconds.
  • It automatically updates itself so there’s no reason to worry if the system is or is not current.
  • It has built in virus protection.  The fact that you can’t download and install programs on these devices pretty much eliminates virus worries anyway.
  • Most websites will work with Chromebooks including flash websites.  The restrictions come when something needs to be downloaded and installed such as Java.  Javascript, however, does work with Chromebooks.
  • It’s just like using the Chrome browser and apps.
  • All apps and files are run from and stored on the web.
  • Everything is automatically stored online in the student’s SBCA Google account.

What is Google Apps for Education?

Google Apps for Education helps us manage the Chromebooks and the student Google accounts.  Not only do we have a large amount of control over the Chromebooks themselves but we can also set the accounts for higher security than if they used their own Google account to do their school work. Not only do we get to manage the student accounts, but they also offer online apps that schools can use to help their students. These applications do not reside on the computer itself, but are accessed through the Chrome web browser. This is considered working in the “cloud”. This group of applications, based on the popular Google Play Store, is tailored specifically for educational institutions. Student accounts are managed by the school (not by Google).

Here are some benefits:

  • Unlike regular Gmail accounts, Google does NOT advertise to users of the Google Apps for Education program. It’s entirely cost and advertisement free.
  • Google Apps is governed by a detailed Privacy Policy, which ensures they will not inappropriately share or use personal information placed in their systems. Google complies with applicable US privacy law, and the FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations.
  • Our teachers can assign apps that they think will be useful to the students and it will automatically appear on their Chromebook for their use. We can also block apps that we feel the students should not be using during the school day.
  • Google Apps for Education can help streamline academic tasks like essay writing and class scheduling. A group of students can work together on a piece of work in Google Docs, seeing changes in real time rather than waiting for versions to be sent via email.
  • Google Apps is updated everytime someone logs in so our students are always using the most updated software available.

The list can go on with more benefits but we will stop there. If you want to do some further research, try searching online. There are thousands of schools already using Chromebooks with great success. We are excited to add ourselves to that list!