The PCBO Dantumadiel is located in De Westereen, Netherlands, and it is an association consisting of seven schools, including the protestant-christian primary school De Boustien. Dirk Haijma, the association’s ICT-coordinator, says that a total of 1,200 Acer Chromebooks have been purchased for these seven schools: “The association has clearly chosen to make a substantial investment in the future. The special thing about De Boustien is that all pupils there have received their own Acer Chromebook.”
Looking for laptops ready for today’s students
Director Ietje de Vries explains that De Boustien was already the only school in the association that worked with Snappet tablets, quickly realising that they were too small and too hard to work with, especially for years four to six: “So, something better had to take their place.”
The process in which it was decided to purchase Acer Chromebooks was in fact quite simple, Haijma adds: “First, we established what the vision of our association is with respect to digital education. What kind of digital education do we want to provide? Of course, we did this in consultation with the teachers. The results of this discussion were mainly that the computers that we were going to use were to be an integral component of presenting the teaching material. So, it was not just to be a processing unit for the teaching material but a real component of the teaching itself. The computer had to have a keyboard and a very good battery. It also had to be robust and light. And we wanted to provide every pupil here at De Boustien with a laptop. Years one to three ought to have touch because this allows them to work faster and more intuitively and also to use them like a tablet, and the years six to eight shouldn’t have touch. The latter was a financial decision, but children in these groups can work really well with just a keyboard.”
Acer Chromebooks are the devices fitting the best with De Boustien school’s needs
“We went to our ICT-service provider VWC with these wishes and a fixed budget”, Haijma continues. “They came up with these Acer Chromebooks right away. We were immediately impressed by these laptops.”
The roll-out began right before summer 2018 and the implementation was completed after summer. Because all 255 pupils have to be able to use the Chromebooks at the same time, the capacity of the WIFI network also had to be expanded.
At the end of each teaching day, the Chromebooks are safely stored in locked charging banks. VWC can also provide all necessary updates automatically via the central management environment which means the machines are in top condition every day. In-school management is no longer needed.
“The Chromebooks now form an integral component of our instruction”
Chromebook 11 N7 and Spin 11: the reasons why
The entire upper school and the teachers at De Boustien got the Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) and the lower school the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (R751T).
Both types are extremely sturdy and shock resistant and therefore especially well-suited for use in classrooms. They are also small (11 inch), thin and light and thus children can handle the Chromebooks easily. The laptops have a unique drainage system which means spilled liquids are drained out through the keyboard without causing any damage. Finally, the touchscreen on the Spin 11 can be completely rotated (360 degrees) and function as a tablet, making it ideal for “the little ones”.
A plus: Acer Chromebooks as means of communication
Director De Vries has nothing but praise for the Chromebooks: “The opportunities that these devices offer us are impressive. Not just now, but in the future, too. We just starting out and are still in the phase of familiarising ourselves with them, but I see the interaction between the teachers and pupils increasing.”
De Vries ends with a reflection on the decision: “As said before, we see the Chromebooks not just as a processing unit but mainly as means of communication. Between teacher and pupil, but also pupil to pupil. With an eye on the increasing internationalisation of the world, we intentionally chose to become a school with Early Foreign Language Instruction. Pupils in year six communicate with pupils in other countries in foreign languages. Once they all have their own Chromebooks, this will be better and easier. Thus, with these Chromebooks we have literally put the future into the hands of the pupils.”