School Chromebook Policy: Reasons to Have One, and How to Manage It

Providing your students Chromebooks is a huge undertaking that requires well-thought-out policies. A lot of things can go wrong if you don’t have guard rails in place. Are students allowed to take their Chromebooks home? What are their responsibilities in regard to caring for those devices? What should they do if their Chromebook is damaged, lost or stolen? Are they allowed to install apps on them? Are there limits to what they can do on them?

You need to establish a school Chromebook policy that stakeholders, especially students and their parents, can follow to ensure the security of each device, its users and your institution.

Hardware Policies

One major component should be a set of policies for the safety and care of the physical hardware itself. For example, are students allowed to take their Chromebooks out of the school premises? If so, what are the rules students need to follow to ensure the safety of those devices? In fact, you need to establish a set of Chromebook safety guidelines for both on-campus and off-campus scenarios.

Some examples of these guidelines include the:

You should also have a set of provisions for dealing with situations where the Chromebook’s physical integrity or safety might already be compromised. For example, what should parents/guardians do if the device is damaged or stolen? They should know who to contact so that the proper course of action can be carried out.

The idea is to provide students and parents with sufficient guidance in the proper care of the device entrusted to them.

User and Device-Level Policies

While proper handling of the physical devices is important, equally important are the actions students perform when using those devices. Students shouldn’t do things (on their Chromebook) that might cause harm to themselves, their fellow students, their teachers, and everyone around them in general.

To deter students from engaging in harmful activities, you also need to incorporate usage-related provisions in your school Chromebook policies. For example, you need to specify:

These policies will not only protect users and their peers, but they will also ensure students are free from distractions and focus on schoolwork when using their designated Chromebooks.

Chromebook School Policy Management for Hundreds of Devices

Most of your students will likely adhere to your policies. However, it would be unrealistic to expect everyone to be compliant all the time. Some of them are bound to forget or even circumvent some policies deliberately.

One way of improving policy enforcement is by leveraging the power of the Google Admin Console, the cloud-based, administrative user interface that allows IT administrators to manage Chromebooks, Chromebook apps and extensions, users and, yes, Chromebook policies. It’s an essential tool for managing a fleet of Chromebooks.

By using the Admin Console, you can configure Wi-Fi and proxy settings, preinstall apps and extensions, limit access to only authorized users, specify settings for distinct groups of users (high-school students, kindergarten through eighth grade students, faculty, staff, etc.), and apply several other policy-impacting functions. This will enable you to save time and administrative costs since you don’t have to collect every single device physically and configure them manually.

Enhancing Chromebooks for Education with Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS

As Chromebooks become an integral part of your school’s learning environment, it’s important to take measures that can help maximize your investment. A carefully crafted school Chromebook policy can be a big help in this regard.

One issue we often hear about Chromebooks is their inability to access Windows-based, native applications. Unless this problem is addressed, it could hinder student and teacher performance and, in turn, derail the progress of your Chromebook adoption program.

The best way to address this issue is by employing Parallels® Desktop for Chrome OS. Parallels Desktop allows Chromebooks to run Windows environments on virtual machines (VMs). It’s closely integrated with Chrome OS and Google Admin Console, so you’re guaranteed a seamless user and administrator experience. As Google Admin Console doesn’t allow management of Windows VMs, Windows devices need to be managed separately with Intune or other solutions.

When you have Parallels Desktop on a Chromebook, the user can switch easily between Chrome OS and Windows, share folders between the two platforms, drag and drop files and text between Chrome OS and Windows, open a file on Chrome OS through a Windows application, and perform several other functions involving the two platforms.

More importantly, it gives students access to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as several other Windows-based applications, right from their Chromebook. And because the Windows environment is running locally on top of a VM, you retain access to those applications even without an internet connection.

Learn more about Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS and get a free trial!