Chromebook Scheme 2021 

For Year 7, 8, 9, and 10 students

 

Parental Information Pack 

 

Chromebooks for Learning

We are excited to announce that we are re-launching the ‘Chromebook Scheme’ for Robert May’s School students between 5th and 21st March 2021. It is an aim that every student of Robert May’s School will have the opportunity to use a Chromebook on a daily basis, either their own, or one from the school’s resources, for use in lesson time to ensure access for all. 

Since September 2017, we have been using Chromebooks in lessons and they have been a fantastic addition to the classroom. The feedback from both staff and students has been extremely positive and we have seen improved engagement from our students when using the Chromebooks.

We are confident about the impact this development will have on our student’s learning. Our student’s daily lives are filled with technology and they are quick to embrace new developments. We want our students to feel at ease in this rapidly changing climate. 

Chromebooks provide a sound vehicle to help our students become responsible digital citizens and lifelong learners. Our scheme is an ‘opt in’ scheme; provision will be made for all students. Robert May’s School firmly believe in the merits of the scheme and the educational benefits it offers students and expect that parents will want to support the initiative.

Since the COVID19 school closure, we are progressively using the Google Suite of software as a tool for teaching and learning, enabling students to work online, access online lessons, saving work online so that it can be accessed both in and outside of school.  The Chromebook will be their electronic organiser, differentiated textbook, their way to effectively communicate with their teacher and so much more.

Embracing the combination of school and home learning is crucial to the future success of young people. Technology allows learning to be increasingly engaging and lets the school extend effective learning beyond the classroom.

Chromebooks and Google Apps (all free) for Education will enable all our students to have access anytime to information wherever they are. We need to make full and effective use of technology for learning and, coupled with this, is the need to ensure students learn safely, effectively and productively.

We have evaluated many different Chromebooks and have put together a number of packages that we believe offer extremely competitive pricing. All the information you need about our scheme is within this pack and on our school website. 

By joining this scheme, students will have a Chromebook exclusively for their own use both at school and at home.  There is no financial gain to Robert May’s School from this scheme and we have worked with a number of hardware suppliers to negotiate favourable prices on a range of Chromebooks.  

To participate in the scheme and to nominate which device and payment plan you wish to use, please follow the link https://edutech.click/RMS-chromebook-scheme

 

What is a Chromebook?

Chromebooks are different to laptops in that they run the Google Chrome Operating System. This means that Chromebooks primarily work through a wireless connection with Google apps and documents available whilst online in the cloud.

 

Why have we chosen Chromebooks?

There are a wide range of tablet and laptop-style devices available on the market and the when considering the type of device which would be best suited to students in our school.

A Chromebook looks like a laptop in appearance but operates in a very different way with students accessing services and apps online. It can also function as a tablet and has a touch screen display.  The Chromebook operating system is produced by Google who provide a wealth of apps and services, which are specifically designed to support students in education.

Chromebook devices boot-up in a matter of seconds and have a battery life that lasts up to 10 hours, depending on use. Chromebook devices are managed centrally by our IT Support Team to ensure that access is safe and secure. Internet content is filtered for inappropriate content to ensure students can access everything they need for their school work.

Students need to be prepared for an increasingly digital world. Research has confirmed that good home access to technology has a positive impact on a child’s educational achievements; it often motivates them to do schoolwork by providing more interesting and engaging ways to learn.

Student work is often better presented so their self-esteem grows and they can explore subjects that interest them in their own time.

Chromebook features:

  • Less than 8 seconds to boot up 
  • Long battery life
  • Simple technology
  • Easy student-teacher workflow
  • Automatic updates, meaning there is no need to purchase new software and install on device
  • Excellent collaboration tools
  • Large numbers of computers can be managed centrally 
  • Works seamlessly with Google Apps for Education and other cloud based applications which all of our students and teachers already use extensively.

 

The following are just a few examples of what students will do:

  • Create, share and collaborate using GSuite
  • Use subject related apps in the classroom and at home 
  • Collaborative learning.

Our teachers have all been working hard to learn how to make use of all of these tools.

 

Will Chromebooks be used in every lesson, every day?

Traditional methods of learning will still hold a vital place at Robert May’s School and students will not be using these devices 5 hours every school day, but they will be used in a blended learning approach. 

Chromebooks are an educational tool, not a replacement for these methods.  Students will have access to multimedia videos and also to more resources than could normally be handed out in one lesson.

 

When do we get our Chromebook once we have placed our order?

Once the first payment has been received, Chromebooks will be allocated to students. We are expecting Chromebooks to be available early April. The collection date will be advised later.

 

My child already has a different device. Can they use that instead?

It would be a very simple solution to allow students to bring any device in from home; however, research has shown that ‘bring your own device’ schemes create issues in the classroom.  

Through visiting schools with a variety of devices and brand schemes, we discovered two major drawbacks of allowing a range of devices.  The biggest was in the ‘lag time’ for learning.  For example, students who had been given new devices by their parents could get online and access classwork set on tools like Google Classroom rapidly.  However not every student in a class would have a brand new laptop or MacBook to bring in from home so older devices took more time to boot up and these students were sat around waiting to get to the lesson materials and not learning. Furthermore, with devices a couple of years older it was seen that some failed to have even an hour’s battery life despite a full charge.

Additionally it was evident how the lesson began to revolve around the technology, as there was often a range of devices from tablets, laptops and MacBook’s.  Teachers instead of teaching had to start troubleshooting and trying to help the student work their piece of technology rather than getting to the depth and breadth of the topic of the lesson.  We want to avoid this at all costs as technology is a tool to help learning, it should not distract from it.

In the event your child’s device is accidentally damaged by another child, then they will be able to visit IT and be given an identical device to use immediately. The no excess insurance will ensure it is repaired swiftly and your child will not be disadvantaged. This also ensures there are no disputes between children or parents over accidents. Your child will also know that if they accidentally damage their device or that of another child then they will not be liable for any costs. 

Benefits to parents

  • No credit checks.
  • No upfront cost if you chose to lease.
  • Please note: At the end of the lease, you will own the Chromebook and will not be charged any additional fees to do so.
  • Special education pricing.
  • 36-month manufacturer extended warranty.
  • 24-month accidental damage and theft insurance
  • 24-month scheme support
  • Research has shown these devices are very reliable and have good longevity
  • Furthermore Chromebooks are increasingly being used in further education
  • It will be used as a professional tool at school and for homework, but students can use for their personal use at home
  • Supporting students in developing technological skills for the world of work
  • Choice of outputs meaning that students will still use pen and paper as the Chromebook is not a substitution for writing by hand
  • Full ownership of device at end of the scheme of monthly payments

Can we have different models to choose from?

In order to achieve the economies of scale with a manufacturer, which make this scheme most affordable, we cannot offer a diverse choice of devices, as the numbers taking up each option would be too low. The ability also to swap out your child’s device for an identical model would also not be possible. 

 

What if my child already has a Chromebook?

There would be difficulties with bringing your own Chromebook into school. If you have just purchased a Chromebook, please contact us via info@rmays.com

 

How do I connect the Chromebook to the Internet in my house?

Chromebooks use wireless to connect to a network so you will need Wi-Fi at home to use the Chromebook on the Internet. If you have Wi-Fi, your network security key can be added to the Chromebook before log-on. If you do not have Wi-Fi at home, the Chromebook will still work for many things (most apps, reading eBooks, etc.) but, for example, email and web browsing will not be accessible until the Chromebook is back within the school network.

 

Is the battery good enough? How will charging work?

Chromebooks have a battery life of 10 plus hours. This varies depending on what the Chromebook is being used for (e.g., web browsing is very different to using Youtube). As long as students charge the Chromebook overnight, it will last all day. An energy research body has calculated the cost of charging a Chromebook for a year to be 87p if charged every other night. Students are responsible for bringing their charged Chromebook to school.

Please note that there will be no charging facilities available at school. 

 

Are there any Chromebook guides available?

Yes, there is a lot of (free) guidance out there. This link is a good place to start:

http://www.chromestory.com/chromebook-user-guide/

We will make sure all of our students receive the teaching input to get them up and running with their new Chromebooks when they are issued.

Will my child need their own Google account? If so, how will the school be able to put apps on the Chromebook?

Your child’s school account is in fact a Gmail account and this account will be used. The school will use management software to enable it to distribute apps to any Chromebook registered with it and effectively will ‘gift’ the app to the device.

What is the school going to do with the current IT suites?

Due to social distancing it is unlikely IT suites will be able to be used as they were. We will be maintaining our investment in the IT suites, which run specialist software including our suites for Art, Photography, DT and Music and are working to support the use of these rooms in small numbers.  Robert May’s School recognises the importance of IT facilities and continues to invest significantly in this area to maintain an infrastructure (WiFi) that allows students to access high quality resources to support their learning. 

Our Chromebook scheme will allow students to access online services in every lesson across their timetable.

 

Who owns the Chromebook?

Legally Robert May’s School owns the Chromebook until full payment has been made.

 

What technical support will there be for students?

RMS IT Support Service will be able to help resolve many technical issues but one of the major advantages of the Chromebook is that it rarely goes wrong.

Could we buy a cheaper Chromebook and ‘opt out’ of the RMS scheme?

There are other Chromebooks on the retail market, but we will be bulk purchasing a model that we believe can offer good value for money. We will offer a device we think will be robust and stand up well in a school setting.

The Chromebook will also have a management licence applied that will allow the school to monitor the device in school and put apps onto the device for classroom use.

Why can’t the school provide these devices free?

With ever tightening budgets, the school has a limited amount of funding for ICT in school and this primarily pays for the maintenance of our school network. As we are asking families to pay for the device, it will belong to the student and therefore can be used outside of the school day.

What happens if the Chromebook is lost, stolen or damaged?

If a Chromebook is lost or stolen, it is important that it is reported to the IT Support team as soon as possible. The insurance will cover the Chromebook for theft and accidental damage. 

Chromebooks acquired via the leasing scheme come with a 3-year warranty and 2-year insurance package.   Should the Chromebook become damaged at home, you can bring the device into school and take it to the IT Support Team, where one of our technicians will check the device for faults and organise a repair for you.  Once you confirm you are happy for the Chromebook to be sent away for repair, the IT team will liaise with the repair company to get the Chromebook fixed. Once it arrives back at Robert May’s School, it will be re-issued to the student.

It should be noted that devices sent away for repair normally take the industry standard time of 2 to 3 weeks to pass through the repairs procedure. Please note that students will not be issued a loan device to take home, but they will be able to loan one during lessons where one will be needed.

Full details of the insurance are provided on the scheme portal for you to view, print or download at any time during the 24-month scheme. This includes a claim form, contact details and the steps to take when making a claim.

You can also email support@edutech.zone or telephone: 0203 393 8735 and one of the advisors will assist you in making a claim.

How to protect your device?

If you register your device with Immobilise then you are more likely to get it back if it is lost or stolen.  Register your device (or any electronic device in your possession) via the immobilise website at www.immobilise.com

 

What about safety on the way to and from School?

In our research with other schools, we asked whether they had ever had any incidents of Chromebooks being stolen on a students’ way to/from school and they all said that this had never happened. However, it is sensible to reduce the risk of theft through some common sense measures; students should keep their Chromebook in their bag on the way to and from school, both for road safety and crime prevention reasons. This is advisable if travelling by bus or on foot.

What is the RMS doing to reduce e-Safety problems with the Chromebooks?

RMS has a very effective web filtering system and all devices attached to our network go through this web filter. This system blocks unsuitable content and logs access. Mobile Device Management software will be installed which allows the school to monitor usage and if required add/remove apps or remotely wipe devices. 

RMS will be actively monitoring students’ Chromebooks while in school. We will be able to look at web filter logs should an issue become apparent. Students are already taught the importance of e-Safety through PSHE and assemblies. This will be continually reinforced. 

 

How will inappropriate use of the Chromebook at school be dealt with?

Students, with the support of their parents, will be required to sign up to a set of ‘Chromebook Rules’ which set out some simple rules to make things go smoothly. Some of the rules concern management (e.g. “I will bring the Chromebook to school every day, charged”) and some will be about classroom behaviour (e.g. “I will stop using the Chromebook when my teacher asks me to”), with the overall intention of creating a way of operating that all students, parents and staff understand and agree with. Any child that misuses the device in school will have increased restrictions applied to their device.

 

I am concerned about my child’s work being stored with Google, how safe is it?

The data is the property of RMS – Google GSuite customers own their own data, not Google. Google offers customers a detailed data processing amendment that describes their commitment to protecting your data. As a school, we are following DfE and ICO advice in this area.

Google does store and log information but this data is encrypted in transmission and at rest. Google is fully GDPR compliant and they do not share the data.

Can my child put their own content onto the Chromebook (music, video, apps)?

As per the school Acceptable Use Policy, students cannot use the RMS domain (rms.org) to store personal data, music, videos, etc. If they have a personal Gmail account, they can use this to login to the Chromebook when not on the school premises.

 

How will devices be charged?

Students are expected to charge their devices before coming to school for the day.  This is due to few electrical points in classrooms, especially in the older buildings and due to the tripping hazard of trailing leads.  If the device runs out of charge students will choose the ‘traditional’ way of recording their learning via pen and paper.

 

Can my child print from their device?

Chromebooks will be able to print to a variety of devices around the school. These prints will subtract from their personal print allowance. If their allowance reaches zero, they can request extra prints to be added to their account from the IT Support Team.

What will happen at the end of the 2 years?

At the end of the 24-month lease, you will own the device and there is no additional cost for this. You will also benefit from the remaining 12-months of the 36-month extended warranty and any school owned apps will be remotely wiped and our device management software removed when your child comes to the end of Year 11. 

There will be the option to extend the insurance for an additional year(s). Your child will be able to continue using this into their future Years 9, 10 and Year 11. Alternatively, there will be the option to sign up for a new device. 

 

What happens if my child leaves Robert May’s School before the end of lease?

If your child leaves Robert May’s School before the end of the lease, the remaining payments will become due and must be paid in full. 

 

What if my child qualifies free school meals?

A discount is available for Free School Meal families – details on application.

Further Help:

To assist parents who have questions about the scheme, or after delivery want to make an insurance claim, or make changes to their direct debit, we created a simple online form for parents to complete, this creates a ticket for our support team that we can track to ensure the parent enquiry is managed properly.

The link to the form is https://edutech.zone/parent_enquiries

The packages provided on the scheme are fully insured. Details of the insurance are provided on the scheme portal for you to view, print or download any time you wish.