The technical management of the Chromebooks was a strong consideration of both the students and staff members that examined the various device solutions from Windows and Mac laptops to iPads to Windows convertible devices. As the Chromebooks did in many other ways, they proved to be strongest among all of the various options at device management.
Updating and maintaining the ChromeOS operating system on Chromebooks can be completely done by our students as users of their own Chromebooks. There is no need for technical staff members to apply updates either remotely or by-hand on individual devices as students will simply restart their device when prompted to apply the update. Additionally, updating apps is completely transparent to users and, again, requires no interaction from technical staff. In comparison to iOS or Android devices, to Windows computers or Mac computers, the updating and maintenance of ChromeOS and all of the apps within ChromeOS is completely manageable without additional staff.
Deploying apps and updating settings on Chromebooks district-wide is also incredibly easy. This can be controlled on all of the Chromebooks via the District’s web-based Google Apps Domain Control Panel. In other words, one person on School District 21’s technical team can sit down at any up-to-date Internet connected computer in the world, logon to the Control Panel, and push a new app out to all students and staff within minutes. There is no need for the cost or expertise required for additional management software as there would be for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, or Android.
Finally, through our past and current Technology Plans, School District 21 has been carefully planning for the addition of many more devices on our network. The wireless networks throughout our middle schools can handle nearly two devices for each student and staff member in most locations throughout the school. Our elementary schools have also been set-up with additional density, particularly in the third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms, to provide enough coverage for those Chromebooks. Not only that, bandwidth (space available for network/Internet traffic) between schools and to the Internet currently provides plenty of room for these additional devices, though this will likely need to continue to increase over the years for many years to come based on technological trends and current patterns of data usage in the United States and around the world.