Chromebooks in UK Classrooms. A conversation with @edintheclouds
We’re heading across Atlantic ocean today to learn how Chromebooks are being used in the United Kingdom! My guest is Mark Allen (@edintheclouds), a long time IT director and technology specialists who has worked with hundreds of schools in England.
Mark and I discuss many things including the impact of Chromebooks in UK classrooms, the pros and cons of requiring all students to learn how to code, concern over Google’s data collection practices, and strategies for encouraging schools and teachers to adapt to new technologies and teaching tools.
It’s always interesting to hear perspectives from different countries and cultures. That certainly emerges during my conversation with Mark.
Chromebooks in UK Classrooms
I ask Mark to fill us in on deployment of Chromebooks in UK classrooms. Mark works with hundreds of schools across the country so he has a good grasp on the future of tech in the UK and the reasons schools choose or stay away from Chromebooks.
One surprising thing that I learned during my conversation with Mark is that in the UK, coding is a required course, which is a reflection on the emphasis on new job skills across the country.
Security and Privacy Laws in Europe and UK
Europe is quickly moving to pass stricter security and privacy laws that are having a profound effect on Google, Amazon, Facebook, and the other large tech companies. The most widely discussed legislation is the “right to be forgotten” law which requires Google to de-index content when requested.
Additional security and privacy laws in the process of being enacted will have a huge effect on the services used by schools. Mark shares his concern over the pending “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR) and the potential impact on schools across the UK including the use of Chromebooks in UK classrooms.
While this legislation only applies to schools in the European Union, it is certainly wise for US IT directors and administrators to be aware of these new legal requirements as similar rules may some day be applied in the United States.
Change is hard, but necessary
Mark has been helping schools adopt and adapts to improvements in technology for many years. The most difficult part of helping a school upgrade their technology is not the selection, installation, or migration of data, it’s helping people adapt, embrace, and change to embrace these new tools. I try to tap into Mark’s experience by asking him to share advice on helping teacher adapt and embrace new cloud-based tools.
Mark’s formula is simple but effective:
- Get the leadership on board
- Include some reluctant participants in the process
- Orchestrate early wins
Mark makes a brilliant observation about assembling the team to introduce new technology initiatives:
“Make sure you have some Luddites on your technology team…they might be reluctant at first, but once you get them on your side you will be impressed by their abilities. Have students train them; it’s easier for them to take advice from a student than a colleague.”
What a great insight! Listen around 40:00 for more tips from Mark on helping teachers adopt new technology.