Preston Lodge High School strives to develop skills for learning, life and work. Twenty Chromebooks, on an unfiltered network, were introduced to the science department at Preston Lodge High School in December 2011. An unfiltered network was installed as it was not possible to use a device which was not on a Windows operating system on the school’s existing wireless network.
The Chromebook looks like a notebook but works instantly, going straight to the internet for everything, creating a ‘window’ in. Practitioners shared instances of waiting 25 minutes, or longer, for laptops to load up, after which learners were still not logged in. This frustration and ‘dead time’ coupled with limited reliability meant that technology was not embedded in learning. The Chromebooks are ensuring reliable access to technology and this has increased confidence. They are shared devices which automatically update and improve. They have an unusually long battery life of eight hours continuous use, made possile by absence of a traditional motorised disk drive. They can be closed and opened during classes without causing undue delays restarting. This also helps save battery life. The devices are in continuous use, and do not need to be ‘topped up’ with charge during the day. This has allowed a simple trolley to be used, without power supplies. Practitioners noted that the devices had improved considerably during the 11 months in which they had been in the school.
Chromebooks are available for use as and when required in the science department. This reliable availability has enabled practitioners to plan to use Google Apps for Education and general Internet tools for purposeful learning. Practitioners have learned through experience that learning activities should not be ‘Chromebook centric’, learners do not always respond well to being directed to use the devices but instead prefer the opportunity to access them as and when required.
Preston Lodge HS: Chromebook overview David Gilmour of East Lothian Council gives an overview of the Chromebook pilot
Through eduBuzz.org, East Lothian’s on-line learning community, every learner has an eduBuzz Google Apps account and increasing numbers are familiar with logging into Google Apps. This made the introduction of the Chromebook a sensible and quite seamless process as learners log in using their edubuzz.org Google Apps account, their instance of the Chrome browser appears, their Google Apps and Chrome Web Apps appear, and workflow continues.