Vista PEAK Preparatory
We are Brilliant. We are Bison Strong. We are Vista PEAK.
1:1 CHROMEBOOK FAQS
WHAT IS A CHROMEBOOK?
“Chromebooks are mobile devices designed specifically for people who live on the web. With a comfortable, full sized keyboard, large display and clickable trackpad, all day battery life, lightweight and built in ability to connect to WiFi and mobile broadband networks, the Chromebook is ideal for anytime, anywhere access to the web. They provide a faster, safer, more secure online experience for people who live on the web, without all the time consuming, often confusing, high level of maintenance required by typical computers.” (“Google”)
HOW IS ONE STUDENT’S CHROMEBOOK IDENTIFIED FROM ANOTHER STUDENT?
All the Chromebooks are the same, so they look very much alike. District asset tags with bar codes will be on each device and each device has a serial number. The district keeps all that data, so if a Chromebook is misplaced, we can determine who it is assigned to get it back to the student user. Any ID stickers that are on the Chromebook when issued must stay on the Chromebook. No additional permanent markings of any kind (stickers, engraving, permanent ink pen, tape, etc.) shall be placed on the Chromebook or it’s carrying case at any time. While the devices are issued to students, they are still district-owned property. Additional permanent markings on the device or its case will be considered vandalism. Students can add non-permanent identifying items to the case such as ribbon, key chains or other removable items.
WILL THE CHROMEBOOKS EVER LEAVE THE BUILDING?
All VPP students are allowed to take the Chromebooks to and from home for school-related use.
MY CHILD FORGOT TO CHARGE THEIR CHROMEBOOK BEFORE SCHOOL. NOW WHAT?
We do not have spare chargers to give out to students. VPP students are expected to charge their Chromebooks nightly at home and bring them to school fully charged. Students will be able to charge their device in class as long as their bring their charger to school. Our school also has floor outlets installed in several locations that they may plug into.
IF A STUDENT MUST TAKE IT TO ANOTHER ROOM, HOW WILL THEY CARRY THEIR CHROMEBOOK?
Chromebooks should never be transported while open as even gentle handling can damage the screen. Chromebooks should be safely closed and transported in a backpack and taken from classroom to classroom, or to and from school.
WHERE CAN YOU GET AN INTERNET CONNECTION IF THE BUILDING’S WIRELESS CONNECTION IS NOT WORKING?
The devices will only connect to the web wirelessly. If the district’s WiFi network is down during school, the Chromebooks will not have connectivity to the web. However, some features, such as access to the student’s Google Drive, will still work on a limited basis. The work that is done off-line will not be backed up until a wireless Internet connection is restored.
WHAT LOGIN WILL STUDENTS USE TO GET INTO THE DEVICE OPERATING SYSTEM?
Students will each have an username and password that they will use as their primary login. Students are unable to change their username and password at this time. If they are unable to log into their accounts because of a forgotten password, they will need to speak with their teacher who will then email our school's site tech to change their password.
CAN THE CHROMEBOOKS BE USED WITH ANOTHER USERNAME?
No. Students and staff cannot access a district-owned Chromebook with any other login other than their district-assigned email. For example, students will not be able log in to their personal Gmail account on a district-provided Chromebook. However, if a student logs into another device with their school username (a PC laptop, a school lab computer, a loaner Chromebook, etc.) all of their information (bookmarks, emails, documents, applications, etc.) will be available to them on that device when using a Chrome browser.
WILL UNSAFE OR INAPPROPRIATE WEBSITES BE FILTERED ON THE DEVICES?
We do our best to ensure your child’s online experience is safe. Before each Chromebook device connects to the Internet, it must pass through district network firewalls and filters. This happens whether the device is browsing on campus on school-owned networks, or off campus using another WiFi router that is providing the Internet connection. Because of security settings built into the device, it must first route it’s Internet connection back through our district security settings (firewalls and filters) before any website or online resource is accessible. If your child is using the Chromebook at school, at home or at a public library, it will always pass through our web filtering and network firewall system before they can see or access web content. Our web filters are programmed to block inappropriate content as much as possible.
WHAT HAPPENS IF STUDENTS HAVE BEEN VISITING INAPPROPRIATE WEBSITES?
While we do our best to stay on top of things, some websites are not blocked or are able to bypass our filters. Teachers and parents are encouraged to randomly check the browsing history of student Chromebooks on a regular basis. Browsing histories cannot be deleted by the students. The district will also conduct random checks of student browsing histories. If you discover any inappropriate web activity, please contact your child’s teacher, building principal or associate principal. Inappropriate web browsing is a violation of the district Authorized Use Policy and may result in disciplinary action.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DEVICE IS DAMAGED OR LOST?
Students are responsible for district-owned technology property that is issued to them, just as they are for other district-owned items such as text books, calculators, cameras, athletics equipment or library books. If the Chromebook is lost, stolen, or damaged, students are to report this immediately to the VPP site tech so that they may report the missing device to district personnel and the device can be locked. If the device is damaged, it can be repaired in most cases.
WHAT IF ANOTHER STUDENT DAMAGES MY STUDENT’S DEVICE?
In such cases, circumstances will be investigated on a case-by-case basis. School administration and the (SRO) School Resource Officer may be involved if it is suspected to an intentional act or act of vandalism.
HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT REPAIRING A LAPTOP THAT IS NOT FUNCTIONING?
Damaged or non-functioning devices should be turned into school site tech so a repair can be started. District technology staff members can repair many problems in-house, which may take a day or two. Other problems may require the devices being sent out for repair, which can take a several days or perhaps longer. Students who are without their device due to repairs will be swapped out for another device.
HOW MUCH STORAGE DO STUDENTS HAVE?
Students using Chromebooks will have 16 gigabytes (about 16,000 megabytes) of storage on the machine, plus another 30 gigabytes of online “cloud” storage that is attached to their email and accessible via the Google Drive application. This should be more than enough space for class work each year.
WHAT KIND OF APPLICATIONS ARE ON THE DEVICES
There are thousands of apps available for Chromebooks covering a wide variety of topics. The apps, which run in the Chrome browser, are downloadable through the Chrome Web Store.
CAN STUDENTS DOWNLOAD APPS?
No. Student access to the web store is limited.
WHAT DEVICES CAN BE CONNECTED TO A CHROMEBOOK?
A Chromebook can connect to:
USB storage devices, mice and keyboards
External monitors and projectors (via HDMI)
Headphones, earbuds, microphones
HOW CAN STUDENTS SUBMIT WORK OR ASSIGNMENTS VIA THEIR DEVICES?
Google Drive has features built into it that allow work to be “shared” between teachers and even classmates. Students can create documents, spreadsheets, drawings, photos, presentations and even videos. Each item can be “shared” with a teacher prior to its due date. The teacher can then see the work on his or her own computer to review it or grade it for the student.
WHAT IF A STUDENT IS OUT OF SCHOOL FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD (ILLNESS, TRAVEL, FAMILY EMERGENCY, ETC.)?
With the devices, it will become even easier for students to receive work from their teacher. Assignments, readings, and other resources can be placed online and shared with the student who is absent. The student can do the work online from home and share it back with the teacher.
WILL CLASS LESSONS EVER BE RECORDED SO STUDENTS CAN REVIEW MATERIAL?
Possibly. Some teachers are looking at different applications to video/audio record specific course lessons and make them available via the web. This would allow students to view recorded lessons and access related materials (handouts, presentations, etc.) online for review or for students who are out of school to not miss a thing. There may even be options for having courses stream live. At this point though, we’re still exploring.
CAN THE DEVICES BE USED AT HOME?
Yes, if your home has a WiFi network, the devices will have the same filtered web access as they would at school.
If you don’t have a WiFi network at home, students can still use them, but in a limited capacity. If your child receives free or reduced lunch, you may qualify for Internet Essentials from Comcast.
WILL DEVICES BE KEPT BY STUDENTS OVER SUMMER?
Yes. Per Tri-County restrictions with COVID-19 variants, students will keep their devices over Summer unless they are experiencing some technical difficulties before Summer break. Devices may be turned in at the end of the school year if they choose not to use or keep them over the break. New/incoming students will issued a new device at the start of the school year. Devices issued to students who leave the district (move, graduate, etc.) will be reformatted and re-issued to other students on an as-needed basis.
HOW LONG SHOULD CHROMEBOOKS LAST?
Chromebooks have very few moving parts in them and generate very little heat. Therefore the life expectancy — so long as they are treated appropriately — is fairly significant. Five years or more is not unrealistic. Additionally, the devices have powerful processors, adequate memory, and automatically update the latest software and security features without anything needing to be done by the student.
CAN THE DISTRICT TRACK WEB HISTORY?
Yes. The district can track information on what sites students were on, when they were on them, and how long they were on those sites. Students should only visit sites that are approved by the district and those that are not in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy. Violations of the policy can result in disciplinary action, including the student being suspended from using the school network and device use.
ARE OTHER SCHOOLS IN THE DISTRICT DOING THIS?
Yes. We’ve been in contact with other schools here in Aurora Public Schools that have done one-to-one technology rollouts for students, including using Chromebook devices. Before our Chromebook launch, we’ve sought advice on how to move forward from other one-to-one sites, learning from them what’s worked well and how to avoid certain problems.
There are also online resources about one-to-one programs in K-12 schools nation wide and we are using tips and advice from those sources, as well.
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT EBOOKS? WILL THEY REPLACE TRADITIONAL TEXTS?
There is a growing number of ebooks available for schools to use, whether they are viewed on Chromebooks, iPads, traditional laptops or other devices. ebooks are generally cheaper than hard-cover textbooks, are updated at least annually (if not more often), are highly portable (multiple texts one device that weighs less than three pounds), and highly interactive. ebooks aren’t just black letters on white screen. Often times, text is searchable, citable, linked to other resources, or chapters and lessons have learning activities, videos and photo galleries built right in. They are enhanced with audio, interactivity and multimedia, and they offer tremendous learning advantages to our students. We will still use traditional textbooks in the foreseeable future, but the shift to more ebooks will happen. Additionally, many curriculum pieces have online and interactive components to go along with the more traditional classroom materials.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT STUDENT COPYING AND/OR PLAGIARISM?
There are ways within the software systems we have to check and see if work is copied between students. We are also looking at software to help prevent cheating from happening, too.
WILL PAPER ASSIGNMENTS BECOME OBSOLETE?
We can’t say we’ll never have paper or printed projects or work, but it will become less used as time goes on. This can add up to significant cost savings for the district by using less ink, toner and paper. That’s good for the environment, too.
CAN PARENTS USE THE CHROMEBOOKS?
When a student is logged into the Chromebook, parents can use them to check on student work, view their browsing history or connect with teachers through our Infinite Campus parent portal or via the student’s email. The Chromebooks are not intended for personal use for the student or their parents.
CAN MY CHILD OPT OUT OF HAVING A SCHOOL ISSUED CHROMEBOOK?
Yes. However, all students are expected to have a personal or school issued device to complete their school work. However, if your student/child chooses not to used one of our devices, your student will be required to have a device of their own with the following specifications:
MUST have an external keyboard (Cell phones are NOT considered an alternate as part of this program)
MUST allow access to Google in all capacities
MUST easily connect to VP's APS-District Wi-Fi
MUST hold a charge for a minimum of 5 hours unplugged.
Chromebooks are expected to become an integral part of the education to all and any student within Aurora Public Schools and we want them to take advantage of the powerful learning resources available with it. .
CAN STUDENT WORK BE TRANSFERRED FROM THEIR CHROMEBOOK TO ANOTHER DEVICE?
Student applications, emails, bookmarks, documents, presentations and just anything done in the Chrome browser while a student is logged in is available on another Chrome browser on another device when the student logs in with his or her district email address. The content will be the same on the Chromebook as it is, say, on a PC desktop computer, so long as student are using a Chrome browser and their email login.
Data can also be saved to a USB drive and transported between devices..
WHAT ABOUT COMPUTER VIRUSES GETTING ONTO THE CHROMEBOOK?
Since the applications run through the browser and online, there is little worry about having viruses infect the Chromebook’s software or hardware.
HOW IS THE BATTERY LIFE?
Chromebooks have a rated battery life of 8 hours. However, we do expect that students charge them each evening to ensure maximum performance during the school day.
WHAT WILL IT COST TO CHARGE THE CHROMEBOOK AT HOME?
The electricity costs should be minimal to families over the school year, and the total cost is based on usage. Below is a formula to help you develop an estimate.
The device draws about 40 watts, according to most manufacturer’s specifications.
To estimate electricity usage or kilowatt hours, use this formula:
(Wattage x Hours plugged in per day x number of days per year) / 1000 = kWh
Then multiply the answer by the cost of electricity per kilowatt hour in Wisconsin (about $0.11). That is your estimate for the total annual cost.
If your child uses or charges his/her Chromebook at home (they charge while being used, too) every day after school for one hour, the annual cost to parents is about 80 cents.
(40 watts x 1 hour per day x 180 school days per year) / 1000 = 7.2 kWh
7.2 kWh x $0.11 = $0.79