Why Chromebooks? A Ravenscroft Decision…
As we wind down year one of our Google @ Ravenscroft Initiative, I have often been asked why Ravenscroft chose to go with Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks especially given the plethora of devices and platforms available on the market today. Below, I outline several reasons for our decision as well as our plans for the future.
MICROSOFT OFFICE vs. GOOGLE APPS
For a long time, Microsoft has ruled the Office productivity world and with good reason. They offer a solid product line that integrates nicely with Windows and does more things than the average user needs — think bells and whistles. However, how often does the average user learn, and subsequently use, all those bells and whistles? Rarely. Even as a power user, the times when I needed to do more than the basics in Office was far and few between. And I find that most of those power needs can be accomplished in Google Apps with a little searching. So why should an institution pay for the basics of an Office productivity tool for the masses when Google Apps can do 100% of what a user needs to do 95% of the time?
WHY GOOGLE APPS FOR EDUCATION?
- The Web is Where We Live Today
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership
- Easier for Schools to Manage
- Always Connected Across All Devices
- Builds Collaboration & Communication Skills
- 66% of the Top 100 US News & World Report Colleges & Universities have gone Google including Northwestern University, New York University, Cornell University, and Vanderbilt University
- Locally, North Carolina State is a Google Apps for Education institution
WINDOWS, APPLE or CHROME OS?
When it comes to computers, people ultimately define themselves as PC or Mac. While that model has worked in the past I truly believe we should aim towards defining ourselves as “technologically agile” instead — a concept that we hope to develop in our students in the years ahead. Why? Because our students deserve to be comfortable sitting in front of a Windows, Apple, or Chrome OS device; or any other technology that comes down the pike for that matter. A person that is “technologically agile” will also have a leg up on their counterparts in critical thinking and problem solving skills, two critical components of 21st Century Learning.
With the introduction of Chromebooks here at Ravenscroft, and a plan to bring Macs to division computer labs and Windows Virtual Desktops for Chromebooks, Ravenscroft will have a best of breed program in which students have Chromebooks as their daily device, access to Windows desktops when needed, as well as access to Macs when working on video and photo editing projects. All with the goal of teaching our students to be “technologically agile” in their work.
WHY CHROMEBOOKS AS DAILY DEVICE OF CHOICE?
- Boots in under 10 Seconds
- No Software Crashes
- All Work Stored in the Cloud
- Easy Collaboration with Teachers and Peers
- Google Data Sync Across Devices
- Quick Software Updates
- Low Startup Costs
- Centralized Device Management
- Fast Deployment of Devices for Rollout
- Faculty Only Need to Know Power On and Wifi Connected
- Google Stores Our Data Safely and Securely
- Time to Focus on Other Initiatives
During the next few school years we will be renovating our LS, MS, and US Computer Labs to begin to develop showcase rooms for future technology. Initial plans are below:
- LS Computer Lab – Moving to current LS Seminar Room, Outfitting with a SMART LightRaise Projector
- MS Computer Lab – Outfitting with a SMART LightRaise Projector and IdeaPaint Walls
- US Computer Lab – Outfitting with Mac OS, dual boot computers, a SMART LightRaise Projector and IdeaPaint Walls
In addition, for student devices Ravenscroft will begin introducing Lenovo’s x131e Chromebook for students in 7th grade and new students entering the school. This new device is incredibly durable and will provide a better experience for our students moving forward because it resembles a more traditional laptop with standard keyboard and touchpad/touchpoint mice.
For more information on why we chose this device see the Ravenscroft/Lenovo partnership video below:
If you have questions about the Google @ Ravenscroft program please email us at google[at]ravenscroft[dot]org.