The thought of changing over to a new machine always sends a shiver down my spine – no matter how many times I have to do. And yes, in my role as the Head of ICT, I am always doing this.
The task of swapping over to a new machines means that there are new workflows to discover and embed into my daily routine. Recently I was provided a Chromebook to review. I have been using Google Chrome on my Mac and Lenovo machines for a number of years. Google Chrome is my number 1 choice of browsers. So when I took possession of the Chromebook and powered it on, the first thing that struck me was the quick response time – 8 seconds to turn on and ask for my account credentials. A big plus in education where wait times of 5 minutes is not unheard of 🙂
As I have used Google Chrome and Google Drive, all of my bookmarks, files and history is there – as though I have been using this machine for years. Another plus.
Now, I work in a PC school and the current set up does require me to use some software that is Windows based. For that the workaround was to use remote desktop. I have worked in some schools where this was not switched on by the IT department for security reasons. I am lucky that this was the case. Using Remote Desktop is great in these few situations I need to access a platform specific piece of software.
During the week I gave the laptop to one of my children to do their school work on. They had never used this laptop before and with a quick tutorial by Dad (for those of you reading this blog who are IT specialists with kids you will know that your child always knows more than you), they were as productive as if they were using their own personal machine. The kicker came when they finished their work. “How much are these computers Dad? $350 – they why are schools buying $1000 computers when this does the job?”
The Google Chromebook is a fantastic machine that fits the bill for what students need to do in school unless they are doing specialist subject like Industrial Arts and need a program like AutoCAD.
We need a paradigm shift in our thinking of what we need a machine to do. We have been conditioned over the past 20 years of what we need it for. ICT’s is not about learning software, it is about using a tool to get a job done. Cloud computing is here to stay and Google have made big inroads in education . I really think they GET education and schools.