Why a Chromebook (or Any New Device) Won’t Make Your Classroom High Tech

When the chalkboard was introduced to schools in the early 19th century, I doubt that anyone identified right away the danger of this new teaching and learning tool. Since then, who hasn’t experienced what it can do to your fingernails if the piece of chalk that you’re using is too small?

It often seems that school districts treat the latest devices that they’re giving to students―or allowing them to bring into the classroom―the same way. So when stories come out like this one about a school district in California spending $8.7 million on Chromebooks, it’s like they’re treating this project more like a new chalkboard.

Not only are school districts spending a lot of money, but these plans could come to a screeching halt if you don’t identify the potential pitfalls of just putting a netbook on top of a textbook. Here are some questions to ask before making that investment.

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]Are all parents aware of what you’re planning, or are they just reading about it in the news? Better yet, were parents asked if they wanted their children to have, and be responsible for, a Chromebook or similar device? What’s the plan for when a parent says they don’t want their child to have one?

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]What tools will be included to guarantee that your school is CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliant? Did you plan for the costs associated with this assurance?

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]What types of data privacy initiatives are in place? Do you know the policies of every vendor that you are working with? Have you made this information available on your website?

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]Who is leading professional development to ensure that every teacher understands the new devices just as well as they know that today’s lesson begins on page 115?

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]How will your school deal with the inevitable problem of a broken device? Do you have the resources and money available to fix them?

Too often, the device is put ahead of everything else when schools implement a 1:1, blended learning or bring your own device (BYOD) program. And even if your goal is just to replace printed textbooks, there’s still a lot that could go wrong without thinking through the entire process.