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NEB is Googlized!
So much of the educational process relies on technology. Teachers and students need it to be effective and accessible. At NEB our vision “Excellence in education, Every Student. Every Teacher. Every Day.” and mission statement “ Focus. Think. Learn.”, has presented the technology department with a few challenges. How can technology help our faculty and students collaborate? What device is going to provide quick, multifunctional access to the internet at a price point that is within our budget?
First step – Google Apps for Education:
A domain name “nebpanthers.com” was purchased for Google Apps for Education. While Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is free, its main attribute is how well it supports collaboration between faculty and students. It is easy for users to share and edit their documents quickly. The ability to comment right on the document provides quick feedback for the instructor and students. A revision history allows users to review document edits over time. Because Google Apps runs in a web browser, anytime, anywhere access allows users to be productive at school, home, or anywhere there is internet access. Since everything is stored in the cloud, there is no more lost homework or carrying a USB drive to and from school. Files are easy to upload from a PC, Mac, or Linux computer. Students and faculty can focus on the lesson without struggling with the technology.
Another plus is the security Google Apps for Education provides. NEB takes security and privacy of student information very seriously. Google Apps for Education is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Access to data is in real time within a “closed campus” online environment. Student information and work is not accessible by anyone outside of our school community so your child can work in a safe and secure online environment.
Second step – Chromebooks:
In addition to Google Apps for Education, Google has created devices which work very efficiently in a school environment called Chromebooks. Computers require longer boot up time to provide the end user with correct authentication and rights within the network. Since Chromebooks are web-based all the needed information is controlled there and boot up time is now only about eight seconds. A huge impact for a 48 minute class and the battery lasts all day. The devices are managed through a centralized management console which streamlines the setup and deployment process for the IT department. Since many of our teachers are now using web-based applications, the Chromebooks are a great fit for our district.
There are 10 carts of Chromebooks in the district which allows them to be shared between classrooms. The inexpensive cost of the Chromebook has helped us provide more devices for our students to use.