Google Apps had already proved its worth as an extremely engaging and simple learning tool. As it is hosted entirely online, the Chromebooks are the perfect partner for it. It takes ten seconds to get them up and running in a lesson, as opposed to the ten minutes which it took with the old laptops.
One of Paganel’s key focuses is to teach children how to work together as a team to achieve something. This differs from traditional thinking that independent learning is the main priority for primary school learners but helps prepare children for the world of work and higher education, where it is becoming increasingly common to work together virtually from any location. Teachers and pupils were already making use of Google Apps for Education, the free online communications and collaboration suite, which includes features such as Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites. To get the most out of Google Apps, Paganel School also encouraged the use of laptops as teaching aids, with a set of laptops available for classroom use. However, it was becoming increasingly evident that these were being underused, mainly due to the time it took to set them up.
Steve had heard about Google Chromebooks and their use in schools from a contact in America and decided to investigate the technology. Chromebooks are laptops with no hard drives where nothing is stored on the desktop and all systems and programmes are accessed via the web browser, giving the ability to access information and services within the cloud in a matter of seconds. Paganel School purchased a set of 32 Chromebooks last year and allocated them to a class of Year six students aged 10-11. The students have access to them at any time they are needed during the lesson, with other classes borrowing them for specific tasks.