A Google School
Since 2012, embracing digital technologies has been at the forefront of an innovative approach to education at JHGS. Over the years we have embedded a range of techniques and solutions into our teaching and learning. As a school we utilise ‘Google for Education’ to enable us to deliver this through a range of education specific apps. These include but are not limited to;
Google Classroom - Virtual working environments for all classes, allowing sharing of resources and collaboration between teachers and boys. All homework is set through Google Classroom, and parents are invited to receive a weekly email summary of work set for their son.
Google Drive - An unlimited storage drive, and platform for sharing learning resources and real time collaborative working.
GMail - All boys are assigned their own email account, to allow communication with staff and peers, and receive updates regarding shared resources and upcoming submissions.
Google Meet - A secure online meeting environment, used extensively by the whole school community during the school closure period in 2020 to deliver lessons, small group and individual tutorials, facilitate extra-curricular groups such as the Pratchett Debating Society, and even hold an alternative Sports Day.
In addition to a number of staff members achieving Google Educator level 1 and level 2 accreditation; lead student practitioners (our ‘Google Greats’) work across the school to support the whole JHGS community in using GSuite.
‘One-to-one’ delivered through Chromebooks in KS3 & KS4
We were amongst the first schools in the country to successfully pilot a one-to-one programme (each boy has his own personal device), allowing students to exploit the advantages of digital technology in the classroom. Our one-to-one programme has been rolled out to all boys in Year 8 and above, equipping them with a powerful tool to facilitate collaborative and connected learning experiences.
Our Chromebook scheme relies on parental support to purchase devices, although financial assistance is available for disadvantaged boys when required. There are options to purchase a device outright, or alternatively over a 24 month payment plan. Parents wishing to purchase their own device should ensure that the device meets the recommended minimum specifications: 4 GB RAM, Celeron 3350 processor (or better) and 16GB storage. It is also important that devices have at least a five year ‘Auto Update Expiration’ (AUE) period to ensure the device receives Chrome OS updates at least until boys are at the end of Year 11. We currently recommend the Lenovo 300e (2nd generation) Chromebook which meets all of these criteria in a cost effective device.
All Chromebooks used in school require a Chrome for Education License, which can be purchased separately or as part of a package. Full details of the Chromebook purchase programme and current recommended device will be sent directly to parents when their son joins JHGS.
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook runs an operating system called ChromeOS (rather than Windows or Apple’s OS)
Chromebooks are made by a range of well known manufacturers
They are designed with the cloud in mind
There are thousands of apps and extensions available, many of them free
The Chrome for Education Licence which must be installed on student devices allows the school to manage content and apps whilst at school
Chromebooks were chosen as our preferred device after a robust review process involving staff and students in 2018. Chromebooks were chosen due to the significant benefits we identified over other devices, particularly their suitability in an educational environment, affordability and integration into the Google environment boys have become accustomed to.
Clearly there are times when technology does not have a role within the lesson and the need and benefits of developing students’ use of pen and paper will continue to be a feature of our teaching.
As the Covid 19 crisis has demonstrated, Google schools like JHGS, with one-to-one devices for students have been very effective in supporting learning despite school closures.
Our Year 7 presentation from October 6th 2020 is linked here and will be available to view for two weeks.
‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) in the Sixth Form
We recognise the importance of technology in today’s society and believe it enhances learning opportunities. With the older students at school soon to explore options beyond JHGS, we want them to have the choice between a Chromebook, Windows laptop, Macbook, or an alternative device they think is more appropriate to their needs as they begin to specialise.