Here in the Technology Department, we get a lot of questions from parents, staff and students about Google Chromebooks. This document will help answer the common questions we receive about these devices.
Q: What is a Chromebook?
A: A Chromebook is a device that is similar to a laptop, but uses Google’s Chrome operating system instead of Microsoft Windows or Apple iOS. Chromebooks utilize web based software such as Google Apps instead of locally installed software on the device.
Q: Do I always have to be connected to the internet to use a Chromebook?
A: No. When you aren't online, you can still do lots of things with your Chromebook:
- Write emails. Gmail Offline is built to support offline access, allowing mail to be read, responded to, searched, and archived without network access. Gmail Offline will send your messages as soon as Wi-Fi is available.
- View appointments. With offline access from the Google Calendar app, you can view a read-only version of your calendar.
- View, create, and edit documents. The Google Drive app lets you view and edit Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings files.
- View and edit photos. Your Chromebook comes with a built-in photo editor, so you can view and edit photos that are saved to your Chromebook.
- Listen to music. You can play music stored on your Chromebook when you're offline. Copy music files to your Chromebook directly from a storage device like a USB stick or SD card.
- Watch videos. You can download movies and TV episodes to watch offline with the Google Play Movies & TV app. Learn how to download videos on your Chromebook.
- View Microsoft Office and Adobe .pdf files. You can easily use your Chromebook to view Microsoft Office or Adobe files without an Internet connection.
- Take notes. With Google Keep, you can take and save short notes that will save to the cloud the next time you're online.
- Read offline web pages. If you've saved web pages for offline viewing later, they will open in Google Chrome on your Chromebook.
- Use other web apps. Some web applications also have offline counterparts, which you can find in the Chrome Web Store. These include Cloud Reader from Amazon.
- Play games. The Chrome Web Store offers hundreds of games, many of which are also available offline, like Cube Slam.
Q: Should I buy a Chromebook to use at school?
A: Since the North Santiam School District is a Google for Education district, a Chromebook would be an excellent choice.
Q: What model Chromebook should I purchase and where should I buy it?
A: There is a variety of Chromebook models available these days. Different screen sizes, amount of memory, and even colors are available. But they all use the same Chrome Operating System.
Chromebooks are available through many different retailers such as Best Buy, Costco, and Amazon. The school district has standardized on a couple different models and purchases them from CTL Corp out of Beaverton Oregon. The NL61, J4, and J5 CTL models are currently in use throughout the district. Purchases can be made through CTL’s website - http://home.ctl.net/
Q: What additional software do I need to purchase with the Chromebook?
A: None. Because the Chromebook operates through the Chrome Operating System, you have immediate free access to Google Apps which includes Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides, & Drawing.
Q: What is this Chrome Device Management License and do I need it?
A: The Chrome Device Management License allows the School District to manage and push down commonly used apps in class to the device through the Management Console. This includes the SBAC app for state testing.
Management Licenses are specific to the School District Google Domain and are owned by the district. You just need to bring your new Chromebook in for us to register the device to our domain. It is important that you do not log into your new Chromebook until it is registered with the district’s domain. While the Management License is not required to operate your Chromebook on the District network, we highly recommend registering your Chromebook.
Q: What are the advantages of a Chromebook?
A: Chromebooks are an excellent alternative to a normal laptop. They provide fast access to email, docs, spreadsheets, slide presentations and web browsing. They are inexpensive, lightweight, have long battery life, and bootup in less than 10 seconds. They also do not require antivirus software, and your information is securely stored in the cloud. Any required updates are done at start up and are not noticeable.
Q: What are the disadvantages of a Chromebook?
A: If your work requires any additional software to be loaded locally on the device such as AutoCad, Photoshop, etc., you would need a Windows or iOS based device.
Please contact the District Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions
Below is a short video about Google Apps for Education and how it is used in the classroom.