This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.
Years ago, I took on a job as a technology integration specialist in a school building that had just gone 1:1 with Chromebooks. On my first day of work, I was introduced to all of the important characters in my job:
- The principal
- The custodian
- The library-media specialist
- The spreadsheet
The spreadsheet? Yup – a spreadsheet that listed the hundreds of Chromebooks and other devices that I’d be managing.
That’s fine. I’m good at spreadsheets, I thought. Over the next few days, I studied, organized, tweaked, and prepped that spreadsheet for Chromebook check-out day.
I felt calm. I felt confident. I felt ready to rock.
Those feelings evaporated within the first few minutes of checking out the first Chromebook. What do we do when a student’s assigned Chromebook doesn’t work when we first hand it to them? What do we do when they drop it as they walk away from us? What about the kid who hasn’t filled out his acceptable use policy? What about the new kid that we hadn’t added to our spreadsheet yet? What about the kid that the guidance office didn’t tell us had unenrolled?
Spreadsheets are not good for managing large fleets of student Chromebooks or other tech devices. We need something better.
Here are a dozen reasons that VIZOR for Chromebooks Can Eliminate Your Chromebook Management Headaches.
#1 No More Spreadsheets
Managing hundreds–or thousands–of technology devices in a spreadsheet practically requires an Associates Degree in Spreadsheetology (no, sorry, this is not a real thing). Not only is it tricky for you to manage the spreadsheet, you likely also have to trust other colleagues to help you with that process because you can’t be there every time a Chromebook needs to be repaired, checked in, checked out, or returned to a student. A spreadsheet just won’t cut it.
#2 So. Many. Devices.
Whether they’re Chromebooks or any other device, VIZOR can help you manage them with barcodes and their intuitive features. In response to the pandemic, the number of one-to-one initiatives in schools grew rapidly. Can spreadsheets help you manage one of those initiatives? Sure. Will it give you a headache? Probably. Not only can VIZOR do it better, but it can also do it at scale: it can help a large district manage tens of thousands of Chromebooks.
#3 Checkout with Ease!
In my old role that I discussed above, I would pre-assign the Chromebooks in a spreadsheet, use a mail merge tool to print labels, and then check the devices out in our library’s software. It was crazy. And then we even had the students fill out an acceptable use policy (AUP), that I also had to manage and track.
VIZOR can make all of that easier and cut the time for checking out a device from minutes down to a matter of seconds. VIZOR works with any barcode reader and labels: simply scan the device in the interface and automatically check it out to the student. Presto!
#4 Repairs! 😦
One detail I left out about the school that I worked at: it was a middle school. The number of different ways that I saw Chromebooks damaged in those years . . . insanity. And when it happened, we had to collect the device, write details about the issue on a piece of paper, submit it to our district’s IT help desk site, check it back in using the library software, record it in our spreadsheet, get them a new device, check that one out in the library software, record it in our spreadsheet, and give them the new device. 😭
It was so frustrating and it always happened when I was actually trying to support the use of EdTech for enhancing learning, meaning that I had to stop that in order to handle the repair.
And, just to make that worse, we always ended up forgetting what was wrong with some of the devices or who they belonged to, or if they had been repaired yet.
Once again, VIZOR can manage this. Not only can you or your colleagues handle the repair process in the platform, but students (and their parents!) can even request the repair in advance within VIZOR.
Plus, it tracks the repair history for the devices, along with any insurance plans associated with them. And, if you take a picture of the damage, it’ll track that for you too. So when that student tells his parents that he didn’t really drop his sloppy joe 🥪 onto his keyboard, you can show them photographic evidence.
Oh, and that one computer that needs to be repaired every week even though your IT guy says he fixed it? VIZOR’s got your back on that one too: it’ll identify “lemon devices” for you so that you can take them out of your rotation.
#5 Loaners! 😵
As if the process of handling damaged or malfunctioning devices wasn’t frustrating enough, you’ve got to handle assigning a loaner to that student, too! Where does that go in the spreadsheet!? (don’t even get me started on that!)
Yup, you guessed it, VIZOR will help you manage this too. So, you know that one student who dropped a sloppy joe on his original computer, and then spilled Hi-C on his first loaner, and then discovered that his second loaner was damaged but he has no idea what happened, and then got back his original computer, but then he accidentally sat on it, so then he needed a new loaner . . . don’t worry. VIZOR has your back on this.
#6 Missing Devices!
I’ve never understood how a student could lose a Chromebook. But, alas, they can. It’s a growth mindset thing. They can accomplish anything that they set their mind to. Even losing $500 laptops.
With VIZOR, you can report a Chromebook as lost or stolen and it will automatically disable the device for you and notify the parent of the loss and, if applicable, the cost that needs to be paid. Better yet, your student–or their parent–can even report it as lost or stolen themselves and it will still automatically disable the device.
#7 Get ‘em back!
Time for a student to return a Chromebook? Back in the day, I had to send emails, call parents, look up kids’ schedules, hang out by their lockers, and meet them in Social Studies class. With VIZOR, you can set automated notifications that will be sent to parents or students when return time comes around.
In that technology integration specialist role, I didn’t only have to manage the spreadsheets, the student interactions, and the constant Chromebook swapping, I also had to manage the Google Admin Console.
Since VIZOR is an official Google for Education Partner, you won’t need to access the Google Admin Console (GAC) because VIZOR will do it for you. It consolidates device data from the GAC and student information from a school’s student information system (SIS), managing an inventory of all Chromebooks enrolled in the GAC and managing the organizational units (OU) that the devices are in, easily moving them from one OU to another automatically based on its status.
#9 Don’t forget about little SIS
No, I’m not talking about my little sister, Kate. I’m talking about the Student Information System (SIS). As I alluded to above, VIZOR can communicate with your SIS, pulling in class lists, contact information, and up-to-date details about students’ enrollments so that you don’t have to toggle back and forth between your spreadsheets, your SIS, your email, and the Google Admin Console every time a student moves in, moves out, or needs a new device.
#10 Parent Portal
VIZOR has a Parent Portal that keeps parents in the loop, lets them keep tabs on repairs, and even lets them request repairs or report devices as lost.
#11 Keep your Chromebooks running in tip-top shape
VIZOR will automatically track your devices’ repair history to identify devices that may need to be deactivated. It’ll also automatically populate warranty information from Dell and Lenovo, identify Chromebooks running old versions of Chrome OS, and keep tabs on the Chromebooks’ Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date (the date when they no longer receive updates).
#12 Manage all of the things.
Even though I focused primarily on Chromebooks (maybe I should talk to a professional about the mental scars that I have from managing thousands of Chromebooks over the course of 5 years . . . ), VIZOR also helps schools keep track of other IT Assets such as iPads, Projectors, Smartboards, and audio-visual equipment.
Want to learn more about VIZOR and claim a free copy of my book, Educational Duct Tape? Head over to vizor.cloud/chromebooks and sign up for a free no-obligation demo!