Working in the cloud

I’m not sure if there is a more appro­pri­ate name for this post which I’m writ­ing at 11,652 meters some­where over south­east­ern Canada.  I’ve recently been con­tacted by mul­ti­ple schools that are mov­ing to 1:1 with Chrome­books and oth­ers who are con­sid­er­ing the move.  As I’ve noted before, I gen­er­ally hes­i­tate rec­om­mend­ing a device to schools.  I want schools to select the device that best aligns with the needs of their ini­tia­tive, and I do not believe there is one generic best device for all schools.  With that said, I’ve really become quite impressed with the pos­si­bil­i­ties of using a cloud based device such as the Chrome­book.  One obvi­ous change with a cloud based device is that edu­ca­tors will need to use cloud based soft­ware.  I believe this change can lead to real changes in the ways that edu­ca­tors use tech­nol­ogy and push them out of their com­fort zones.  The most excit­ing part of those changes for me is that most cloud based soft­ware is much more col­lab­o­ra­tive in nature.  Rather than using a com­puter as a fancy pen and paper or ency­clo­pe­dia set, edu­ca­tors will need to rethink how they can use the tech­nol­ogy to impact stu­dent learn­ing.  Col­lab­o­ra­tion is a major piece of most tools they will be using on a cloud based device.

I have recently been explor­ing much more with my Chrome­book with a recent pre­sen­ta­tion and trip to Europe.  Here are some exam­ples of how I’ve used cloud based software.

  • Pre­pared a pre­sen­ta­tion on Google Pre­sen­ta­tion for a group of 1:1 edu­ca­tors imple­ment­ing a Chrome­book initiative.

  • Used Google Hang­out to deliver the pre­sen­ta­tion, and recorded that pre­sen­ta­tion with Google Hang­outs on Air.  This ensured that I wouldn’t have con­nec­tiv­ity prob­lems when deliv­er­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion.  The pre­sen­ta­tion was uploaded to YouTube.

  • Used Google Drive to pro­vide feed­back (com­ments)  to stu­dents in my class while work­ing offline on an airplane.

  • Answered ques­tions in a Google Hang­out with a group of approx­i­mately 150 administrators.

  • Trav­eled for nearly an entire month with only my Chrome­book.  I was able to do all of my work with­out any problems.

  • Wrote this blog post on Google Drive at 11,652 meters!

I am very excited for the poten­tial with these cloud based devices, and cer­tainly believe they are worth seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion for 1:1 schools!
Nick Sauers

8 comments

  1. We made a deci­sion 2 year ago to move our ele­men­tary school to Chrome­books, and this fall we’ll have 5 class­rooms in a 1:1 ‘in school’ pro­gram with them. I can­not agree more with your assess­ment. They are an awe­some tool and take SO MUCH of the has­sle fac­tor out of tech, at a low price, it is stun­ning. Add in what you describe about how web-based (mostly free) resources really encour­age col­lab­o­ra­tion, not to men­tion 24X7 access for our stu­dents (for­tu­nately, almost all do have computer/internet access at home), and this approach has been a huge win for us. Low main­te­nance, fast startup, no wor­ries about end­less virus, Java, Adobe, OS, etc. updates, long bat­tery life…what’s not to like? Ok, one thing that’s not per­fect is Cloud­Print, but stu­dents turn most work in elec­tron­i­cally, so it’s really not an issue for us. Glad you posted about them!

  2. @paulkellybc says:

    Hello Nick, Long time reader — first time commenter…(at least I think this is my first time…)

    I really enjoy your blog and enjoy your thoughts on 1:1 and the back­ground aspects of this topic. I believe many are inter­ested in 1:1 but do not under­stand what needs to take place in order for it to be suc­cess­ful or to sim­ply make it hap­pen. Again, I enjoy your perspectives.

    Our high school has been 1:1 for the past 3 years with lit­tle 10′ net­books. With our LMS we feel it is a require­ment for kids to have a com­puter at school so if stu­dents do not bring their own then we sup­ply them at no charge for the stu­dent to use 24–7 for the year.

    This next year we are recy­cling our pro­gram and going with Chrome­books. It will be messy at times but, like our super­in­ten­dent says, “It’s a cloudy world out there…” The col­lab­o­ra­tion alone, with no licens­ing as a close sec­ond, makes it just so amazing.

    Any­way, just wanted to share as your post was about GDrive and Chromebooks.

    Keep up the good work. Paul

  3. Nick,

    As we begin our our one to one this fall we are imple­ment­ing Chrome­books in grade 3 and 6–8. We are stag­ger­ing our imple­men­ta­tion for sup­port pur­poses. Within the next year stu­dents in grade 4 and 5 as well as our high school will be one to one. Our dis­trict has used Google Apps for Edu­ca­tion for the last two years, prepar­ing our staff and stu­dents for this move. If there is one thing I would rec­om­mend for a dis­trict con­sid­er­ing Chrome­books it would be the move to Google Apps before the one to one imple­men­ta­tion. Right now we are in place where teacher instruc­tion focuses on ped­a­gogy and not the use of the tool and/or software.

    Jen­nette

  4. Nick Sauers says:

    Jen­nette,

    Thanks for shar­ing! I think your schools deci­sion to imple­ment Google Apps for Edu­ca­tion prior to your 1:1 roll-out will be extremely helpful.

    Nick

  5. Nick Sauers says:

    Paul,

    Thanks for read­ing. Good luck with you Chrome­book imple­men­ta­tion. It would be inter­est­ing to find out how Chrome­books change your some­what vet­eran 1:1 pro­gram. Will it force teach­ers and stu­dents to do things differently?

    Nick

  6. Nick Sauers says:

    Gene,

    Thanks for shar­ing. I agree with the advan­tages that you listed, and I also think that list will con­tinue to grow! Maybe the prob­lems with Cloud­Print is a good thing?

    Nick

  7. Hi Nick,

    Here’s an intro­duc­tory tuto­r­ial on Chrome­books and the Chrome Web Store that I cre­ated for our AJUSD teach­ers (and stu­dents) who will be using Chrome­books as their 1:1 devices next year. Just wanted to share.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

  8. Nick Sauers says:

    Thanks for shar­ing this! I’m going to share with others :)

    Nick

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