Chrome Devices in Education and the Login Conundrum

in busy •  7 months ago 

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.
image source

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.

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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!


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An interesting post and question, looking at my grandkids here in the states I say they can remember log ones and passwords from a very early age, And I think using a computer can be very beneficial if managed well but he parents, I personally thing my Grandkids spend two must time on their various devices and there should be time limited but maybe thats just showing my age.

BUt One thing I am sure they hate when I am ther eis I insist at the very least no devices of any sort at the table when we are eating together as a family

I agree, I think moderation is very key. I also think there are some things that are better taught without technology. I learned how to type on a typewriter with a book so when a teacher tells me they don't like a typing program because it doesn't have enough games for the kids, I just have to shake my head and laugh.

Maybe you shaking your head and laughing is a sign of your age LOL
But that said I would laugh as well

Oh no - devices at dinner time! I always complain if my neice and nephew use their phones at mealtimes too (though quite often it's their mum who's on her phone!).

glad its not just me and its the same for me, the grandkids now accept my rule their parents not so much LOL

I think K2 could handle it with the odd exception.

We use Lazkids for reading online and on tablets and it offers the kids a password made of a choice of symbols, such as fish banana apple and monkey as well as a traditional alpha-numeric password if preferred. The user name is generally their first name and the teacher has overall control .

Even though this isn't the most secure way to use an app, the kids, as young as 4 have no issues using it when they bring their tablets to me to go through their reading list.

Kids are brilliant with tech, it's second nature so a big no problem from me!

A question back to you about Chromebooks which I like, despite misgivings about Google, but if I use a mouse on my tablet, the right hand mouse button doesn't mimic windows so is it possible to set it up to highlight text for copy paste like you can on windows? I need a mouse, I've always hated touch pads!

Mice work exactly the same on a Chromebook as they do on a PC. My wife has wireless mouse for her Chromebook that she takes around with her all the time. The only thing you really lose are the zoom gestures that you use with the touchpad. I usually shut off the touchpad on most of my PC laptops. I don't like them either.

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I know my kids and their friends could easily log in well before school, but, the thing I worry about is that they don't take the responsibility of it serious enough at that age. Is that not a problem.

Then fast forward. I was thinking probably in more adult terms.

I love that they teach them and use them in school. but, yet! They become addicted to the point that they can't do anything without a device. For the sake of the next generation, I hope the grid never goes down.

Kudos for disabling that annoying touchpad. I take my hat off to you!

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Good points! We keep most of ours in a cart so they only take them out when the teacher is going to have them use them. Some districts are one to one and the kids have the devices with them at all times. It can become hard to enforce when many of them have a phone that their parents allow to keep with them at all times.

Yeah. I hear you. The downfall of society. What did we ever do without a phone? Although, my mom didn't work and divorce and custody wasn't an issue....so many adult problems for kids to worry about.

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The age of handling digital items and software has been pushed to a younger age. A toddler is being forced to watch cartoons from the notepad just to shut them up, I'm sure before they can read they already know which buttons to press.

Oh my, you are opening a whole different can of worms there. We don't have much control over what their parents choose to do. Trust me, our jobs would be a whole lot easier if we did. My biggest concern is the security implications of having all students use one shared account or whether they can handle using their own account.

I guess as an educator you can only do so much and the best you can and hope for the best.

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I’m going to take a stab at it and say 2nd grade. I worked as a public school teacher and substituted in all the grades. Although some could handle it sooner, we have to think of the capabilities of the majority. 😊

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Actually, second grade used to be my cut off but I had so many K and 1st teachers asking how the kids could use the technology that I started just creating them all.

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I have a problem with Google. It builds a profile of you and then adjusts your search results to fit that profile. When I'm doing an online search, I want to get as broad a range of results as possible, not the results that Google's algorithms think I might be interested in.
Several years ago I began to realise that my search results on Google were really poor, and I looked up the profile it had on me. It seemed to think I was a 65-year-old man. I think this was because I went through a phase of looking at 1940s jazz videos on YouTube! It explains why I kept getting ads for "Tena Men", a range of incontinence pads for men!
I didn't bother to enlighten Google. Instead I started using Startpage as my main search engine. I'm not sure if this is possible on a Chromebook. I have an Android tablet, and Google is always the default search engine.
So while I think it's good for young kids to learn how to keep a password, I'm not a big fan of logging on and having an online profile built around me. For that reason again, I only use the old versions of Microsoft Word - the current version can only be used with an online connection. That seems crazy to me for a word-processing platform.
I do log in to various online platforms, but I try not to share too much detail about myself online.

There are laws such as COPPA and FERPA that Google has to adhere to for their education products. The kind of stuff you are talking about doesn't happen on Gsuite like it does on their consumer offerings. I understand where you are coming from though.

I've never heard of those laws! But that sounds positive.