7 Ways to Get More From School Chromebooks

My kids are fortunate to be part of a tech-forward district with, among other things, a 1:1 Chromebook initiative. I hear their stories of how the Chromebooks are integrated into lessons in class throughout the day. My middle schooler is even able to bring her Chromebook home at night. I know this access has given them new skills and new ways of learning and I’ve seen first-hand how it has advanced their engagement and  ability to use technology in meaningful and persuasive ways. (When we try to decide where to order take-out dinner, they often create presentations with Google Slides to persuade me to their choice ☺)

Use of Chromebooks continues to grow in schools (in 2016, they accounted for 58% of devices sold into education) and it’s easy to see why: They’re cost-effective, easy to support, have great battery life, and start up and connect quickly. But with all those benefits, you still need to make sure you’re maximizing the ROI — educationally and financially — of those devices.

Enter: Relay for Google Chrome.

Here are seven crucial ways that Relay makes it easy for districts to get more out of their Chromebooks.

1. More safety
As you give students devices to connect them with great educational opportunities, you also need to make sure you don’t open them up to inappropriate or dangerous use and activity. Relay’s filter keeps devices CIPA-compliant wherever they go, keeps your students protected, and gives you alerts and reports on potentially dangerous activity. You set suspicious terms to flag along with each term’s threat level and control when and to whom notifications are sent. It’s a way to make sure use of these devices doesn’t have any negative consequences in terms of bullying, violence, cheating, and more.

2. More data
You bought the devices, but then what happens? Relay reports let you know. From a high-level dashboard that gives a snapshot of activity across the district, you can drill into any information you want: activity for a specific school or class or individual user; blocked web attempts; searches; flagged activity; videos watched; and more. This activity can help you understand where and how devices are being used — a first step in driving the success of your 1:1 across schools, classes, and users.

3. More control
It’s important that district devices stay under some centralized IT control. That’s how you keep them compliant with CIPA and your district’s policies. Our filtering controls let you manage access to the web, searches, YouTube, and more. Because our database was designed for education and is split into education-specific categories, it’s easy to turn access to various types of content on and off. You can even differentiate policies for schools, grades, and groups! (The feature After School Rules, coming soon, will also let you differentiate policies by day and time, or on- and off-campus.)

4. More videos
YouTube has long been a challenge for schools; they want the educational videos but not the bad content. Relay solves that. You can easily allow only educationally appropriate videos as well as block comments and sidebars. (If you’ve spent any time reading comments on YouTube, you know why this is important!)

5. More classroom use
Some teachers are thrilled to have a Chromebook on each desk in their classrooms; others, not so much. All teachers want tools that help them make that technology as effective as possible in the classroom. That’s why Relay includes (at no additional cost!) Classroom Orchestrator and our Launch dashboard for teachers. With this, teachers can monitor screens; share resources; lock devices; broadcast their screens or a student screen to the rest of the class; and a lot more.

6. Fewer lost devices
Here’s an area where Relay gives schools less instead of more: lost and stolen devices. Relay Device Detective lets you track lost or stolen devices to assist you in recovery.

7. More results
All of this comes together to help schools turn the money they’ve invested in Chromebooks (and wireless infrastructure, teacher professional development, and everything else that your 1:1 requires) into more control for IT departments, more classroom integration for teachers, more data for administrators, and more safe learning opportunities for students. And that’s what the investment in technology in our schools is all about.

Learn more about Relay and request a demo to see how it can help your school do more with its Chromebooks. 

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