In the first part of our two-part blog post series about common Chromebook policies for school use, we shared some background information about how Chromebooks became the most popular choice for school computers, as well as some facts about the ease of use and affordability that have caused Chromebooks to surge in popularity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when having enough laptops to issue to students for remote learning was a priority.
If you’re considering putting together a handbook of policies to support your school’s 1:1 Chromebook initiative, we also shared some of the most commonly used guidelines from school districts across the nation. We’re back with even more policies you may wish to include for your school when implementing this initiative. Here are a few other rules many schools have adopted to help students of all ages adhere to basic safety, privacy and decency guidelines that will help them make the most of their Chromebooks.
#1: For educational purposes only
As you might imagine, students may try to access popular gaming and entertainment sites, as well as some that may contain inappropriate content, once they are issued a Chromebook. Including a policy that states Chromebooks may only be used to access educationally and socially appropriate materials and websites can help faculty and staff control the content that is being viewed by students.
#2: Right to review stored material
Keeping in line with the first policy, it is essential to include a policy that states the school has a right to review all material stored on or accessed by any student using their Chromebook. Since the school is the owner of the Chromebooks, it retains the right to allow school officials to conduct these reviews and revoke the Chromebook privileges of any student who violates the policy and misuses the device.
#3: Screensavers and desktop wallpaper
A number of schools’ Chromebook policies include guidelines that restrict the application of screensavers and desktop wallpaper backgrounds that include weapons-related, pornographic, gang-related, alcohol-related or drug-related words or images, along with the use of any vulgar or inappropriate language.
Schools are also employing policies that require students to conduct themselves in a respectful, courteous manner when using the Internet, network resources and online sites. This allows schools to ensure their students are not posting offensive, vulgar or inappropriate content, along with incorrect or unverified information, and that they are only using known or trusted sources when conducting Internet research for study-related purposes. The basic rule should be, “If it’s not something you would want your teachers, parents or future employers or college admissions personnel to see, don’t post it!”
#5: Google Drive and G-Suite access
Most schools that have implemented a 1:1 Chromebook initiative have also created a Google Drive for each student, which may be used for email assigned by the school or district, G-Suite application access and more. Students must log in with their Google account information to access their drive, where they can save and access their school-related materials, such as assignments, special projects and research reports. Students’ Google Drives, along with all content on their school-issued email address, can be monitored to filter inappropriate content and flag potential violations of school policy.
#6: Home use
It’s essential for schools to include some language about home use in their Chromebook policies. This way, schools can keep track of the Chromebooks they have issued to students while still allowing them to use them for homework, project research and more outside of school. Some schools also include guidelines for parents in their Chromebook policies to ensure students have secure, reliable Internet connections and that their Internet and social media use is being monitored or restricted on their school-issued Chromebooks.
#7: Non-sharing policies
A number of Chromebook policies implemented by U.S. schools include language prohibiting students from sharing one another's devices. This not only protects the Chromebooks against being damaged or lost by students they aren’t issued to, but also allows schools to enforce the netiquette guidelines more effectively by being able to trace policy violations back to specific students.
#8: Carrying cases
Because students are responsible for keeping their Chromebooks safe as they transport them to and from school, many school policies include a section which details the necessity of using Chromebook carrying cases. Whether a school chooses to purchase a carrying case for each Chromebook or allows students to purchase their own as part of their school supplies, the policy should state that cases are required to be used at all times and must be specially designed for Chromebook use and storage.
#9: Personal safety
To protect students from identity theft, fraud, and other cybersecurity concerns, it is essential for schools to include guidelines that restrict them from sharing personal information online. This information includes phone number, Social Security number, address, birth date or any other financial information without the express consent of an adult. Encourage students to immediately bring any suspicious, inappropriate or otherwise concerning message, comment or image they receive on their Chromebook to the attention of a teacher or school administrator immediately.
Finally, it’s important to include some guidelines for proper cleaning and sanitation of school-issued Chromebooks in your handbook. Be sure to detail the process for safely and effectively cleaning Chromebooks, including the use of special sanitizing wipes for electronics, to ensure students are not using any harmful materials or liquids on their screens or keyboards.
Though it may seem daunting to entrust expensive Chromebooks to each student in your school at the start of the year, you can be sure that the benefits outweigh any potential problems that may arise. By sharing your school’s policies regarding the use and care of Chromebooks to students and parents before issuing them at the start of the school year, you are letting them know how you expect them to be treated, along with the consequences they may face if those expectations are not met. Use these suggestions to help you create your school’s unique policy handbook regarding Chromebook use, and you’re on your way to ensuring a quality learning experience for your students!