In case you haven't picked up on it from reading my posts, I work in public education. I am the Technology Director for a relatively small district of about 1300 students.
The size of our district affords us the opportunity to provide beneficial class sizes and services to those students.
We have at least one PC lab in each building running Windows 10. Additionally, we also have an extensive collection of Chrome devices such as Chromebooks and Chromeboxes throughout the district.
Finally, there are a handful of iOS devices available to students as well on a per class basis. These range from iPad 2's to the most recent version of that hardware.
I know there is a certain segment of the population that doesn't really care for Chrome devices. They still see them as inferior units not capable of doing everything a standard PC can.
While I don't disagree with some of that thinking, I personally think Chrome devices have been a huge boon to the education field for four key reasons:
- They are fast - Because their OS is basically a browser, they have quick boot times and equally speedy response times.
- They are inexpensive - When the state leverages their buying power, we can get devices(with management) for less than $200 a piece. That is roughly half the cost of an iPad or PC.
- They are easy to manage - The Chrome Management Console makes them so easy to track and manage, I can lock down (or not) nearly every aspect of the machines per user or device.
- The industry supports them - There are so many different models available these days with the exact same functionality. Likewise many companies offer software plugins for them that enhance the usability of them.
I personally think everyone should own a Chromebook. I find them the perfect supplement to a traditional computer. They are easily portable and lightweight, perfect for travel, and quite honestly there are some things that are just easier to do on a computer screen with a mouse and keyboard vs. a tablet for phone.
One of the biggest drawbacks and points of discussion we have been having in education with the Chromebooks is the fact that students need to login to be able to use them. It is possible to have a guest login, but when you start adding some of the features I mentioned in the fourth point above, you really need to disable it.
Thus, the discussion eventually leads to this question: "how young is too young for the students to have a login and actually remember it?".
Personally, I think many of the teachers give the students much less credit than they deserve. Many of these kids already have Minecraft, Pokemon, Roblox, or other similar accounts that they need logins for and they remember those very well.
When I was a student if I could remember the code for Contra (up up down down left right left right b a start) you better believe I should have been able to remember my login and password for the school computers (not that we had them back then).
I personally create accounts for all students K-12. If the teacher feels they are responsible enough to login, they can have them start using the accounts on the first day of school. Many teachers K-2 have the older elementary kids come sit with their students and help them login the first couple of times.
This leads me to my reason for this post: What do you think Steemians? At what age do you think students are old enough to handle the responsibility of having a login and password? Is kindergarten too young or is that a skill they should be able to manage by then?
I look forward to your comments!