Chromebooks & Google Classroom FAQ

Will students be affected by eye-strain using Chromebooks at school?

The model of Chromebook used at Wingate is designed specifically for educational use, and as such the screens are intended to be used regularly throughout the day without affecting students' eyesight. The children will not be using the Chromebook for every lesson. They move around the school and so are not spending long spells of time without looking up from the screen. Please refer to the online video of the presentation for more information on this question.

Will the children still be writing in their text books?

Transition to the new system may be gradual during 2016 / 2017 with some subjects using a blend of exercise books and Chromebooks. Some subjects will always be using exercise books. Almost all exams are still written so we must prepare our students for this, However, the majority of subjects will be using the Chromebook as the main educational and research tool.

Will the Chromebook be the students' to take away with them?

The Chromebook will become the fundamental educational tool at Wingate and will replace some of the existing exercise and text books. It will be used daily for the students to access on-line Google classroom resources. As such, students will be required to bring their Chromebooks (fully charged) to school every day. As parents will have purchased the hardware, the Chromebooks can be taken home and used outside of school. This may be necessary for students to complete homework and assignments issued to them using Google classroom.

Is the Chromebook compatible with other systems, ie. If I send an email with an office document attached (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) would any of these documents be viewable?

Yes, a Chromebook can open all common documents and file formats by using the Google Classroom software e.g. slides as default, however, all documents and resources that teachers will issue to students including documents that students create and work with will be in the Google Drive format to allow the sharing and collaborative features.

Can I source my own Chromebook?

It was considered that parents could purchase their own Chromebook at the very beginning of the research. This, however, would have lead to many problems with purchasing the wrong equipment and software, which in turn would lead to the system not working for any of the children in the class. We have included an agreement with a technical support company in Santa Cruz to provide a quick unit repair and replacement service to minimise any disruption; each Chromebook requires a €25.00 Google licence which is included. Also the overall cost of the package includes some of the costs for the research, training and necessary tools to deploy the project successfully. For these reasons it is compulsory for all students in Years 7 to 10 and Year 12.

Can my child use their own equipment/laptop?

The Chromebook used at Wingate has been specifically chosen after much research, consultation with experts in the educational industry and visits to overseas educational events. It was chosen based on the rugged design, light weight, long battery life, simple configuration and security. We have allowed certain students to use their own equipment at Wingate for many years and this has proven to be problematic. Viruses, incompatible software, hardware faults, short battery life and out of date software will prevent students from keeping up with classmates, slow down or delay lessons and the delivery of the curriculum.
In order to make this bold move to an electronic paperless classroom experience the reliability and suitability of the hardware was imperative. As such only Chromebooks will be used at Wingate to ensure the same high standards are maintained.
A Chromebook is less costly than a basic laptop and will provide access to all features used at Wingate in September. Consequently, it is a compulsory purchase for all students in Years 7 to 10 and Year 12. It is highly recommended that students in Years 11 and 13 take up the offer and particularly those in Year 11 who want to continue into the Sixth Form.

How will it be possible to make sure that students are not playing computer games during the classes?

Chromebooks are designed specifically for use in schools and as such are able to be controlled by the teacher of each class (features such as turn off WiFi, block keyboards, blank screens, allow students to only access specific websites and resources, mute speakers, etc). The features of using Google classroom along with Chromebooks allow control and supervision of students during lesson times.

Do Chromebooks have enough power and capacity to run all the needed software?

Yes the Chromebook hardware, operating system and software have been designed together and come as a complete package. This provides a smooth and responsive experience with no incompatibility issues or performance issues. Unlike normal laptops a Chromebook will never encounter software it is unable to run or be affected by malicious software / viruses that may impact on the performance of the device.

Is a Chromebook compulsory for my child?

Chromebooks are a compulsory purchase for all students in Years 7 to 10. The Chromebook is a compulsory purchase for Year 12 and it is highly recommended that students in Years 11 and 13 take up the offer - particularly those in Year 11 who want to continue into the Sixth Form.

What are the technical specifications of the Chromebook?

Processor: Intel Celeron N3350, (1.1 GHz, Turbo up to 2.4 GHz, 2 cores)
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB
Wireless: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2
Display: 11.6 inch (1366 x 768)

More in-depth specifications can be found here