Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Student's Take on The Google Ninja and Chromebook Initiatives.

     Hello everyone! My name is Spencer Vaughn, and I'm a senior at Westside High School. I am on the leadership team of a group of students hand selected to serve on the Google Apps Ninja Team. This team is a part of the Google Ninja initiative that is sweeping the nation. The team serves many purposes. Our number one objective is to act as the first source of information about everything Google. We are charged with knowing how to effectively operate the Google Chrome browser, Google Apps, etc. Students and teachers alike come to us for tech support. As one of the leaders of this team, I have helped multiple teachers organize their Google Drives, set up Google Calendars, use Google Forms to set up tests, using Google Spreadsheets to keep track of club funds, and much more. It's quite surprising the lack of knowledge some people have about the uses of Google Apps in education, and that is why we set out to inform people as much as possible. We started at the beginning of this semester full force by creating a short video to show all of the students while receiving their Chromebooks. This video had some basic do's, don'ts, internet safety, tips, and tricks about Google and the Chromebooks. As we move forward with this team, we are planning to create more videos and put them on Youtube and our school website in order to help improve the efficiency of these devices.

     I'm not going to lie. The first time I heard about these devices I was not pleased with the idea of having one in my hands to complete my school work. I have been an Apple guy my entire life, and not getting a Macbook in my hands for school devastated me. I was selected to test drive the Chromebook to see what it could do in a school setting. I was pleasantly surprised with the device. It offers everything a student could possibly need for a school setting. Because of its unique operating system, the device can be managed and monitored by the administrative staff very intently. It offers the google apps suite such as Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, Drawings, Presentation, and many many more applications on and offline. The device comes in many forms, as Mr. Graham has mentioned in previous posts, and are offered at price ranges almost any district can afford. The use of these devices in the classroom are absolutely endless. There is nothing that a teacher could want to do that this device would not be able to handle. It is strongly recommended as an affordable, efficient device to go one-to-one with. For those on the more technical side of things, we are using the Lenovo X131e. The hard plastic build makes it perfect for the day-to-day use of a highschool student. It has an 11.6 inch display, holds up to 7.5 hours of battery life, and runs an Intel Celeron processor. Perfect specifications for a high school use device. I am pleased with these devices for school use.

     If you have any questions for me, any at all, feel free to email me at