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📖 3 mins read

Techradar just named 2021 as ‘the year of the Chromebook’. After all, Chromebooks have been taking the EdTech scene by storm amid school closures and an unprecedented shift to eLearning globally.

While ChromeOS offers schools better control to meet their IT and security needs, we all know that Chromebook management isn’t exactly ‘a stroll in the park’ for K-12 admins. 

Deploying a full-on Chromebook Management workflow requires enforcing more granular Monitoring and Security measures to cover multiple areas, in accordance with every district’s policies, which can get tricky.

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Today we’ll share with you the 6 essentials we believe every K-12 admin needs in 2021 to improve their overall Chromebook Management workflow.

Let’s get started!

The 6 Chromebook Management Essentials every K-12 IT Admin needs in 2021

6 Chromebook Management Essentials

Chromebook Asset Management

‘’How many Chromebooks do we have? Who has which device? Which devices are insured, need repairs, have been broken or lost?’’ 

These are just a few common Chromebook management questions a well kept Chromebook asset management system can solve for you.

By allowing you to better track the devices you provide you can easily generate reports for usage, acquisition, repairs, and general student data.

Remember, your device asset system needs to be accurate, up-to-date and cover all the important information of your device asset.

To create a basic asset management system simply follow the below steps:

    1. Create a Spreadsheet that includes the details of all Chromebook and ChromeOS devices on your network.
    2. Sort them by district (or school) asset ID, serial number, model,  group, IP, user, device location, OS version to easily keep track of them.
    3. Enter your district (or school) ID into the Google Admin console with the corresponding student account added to the info section.
    4. Make sure to update this Sheet as you go.

Alternatively, you can use an asset management tool. Checkout Asset Tiger, it’s FREE and perfect for larger Chromebook deployments or when Sheets just aren’t cutting it anymore. 

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Chromebook Geo-location Tracking ?

You also need to track and manage the location of your Chromebooks and ChromeOS devices at all times.

That will prepare you ahead for any Chromebook device loss and/or theft situations, and allow you to take prompt action to protect your school domain and student data.

Additionally, geolocation alerting helps you spot and respond to unusual logins on time before incidents are even reported or cause further damage.

Unfortunately, this information is not available in the admin console, so you’ll need an accurate and reliable 3rd party tool to cover this area.

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Chromebook Content filtering product

Now on to the trickier part of the nut, ‘Content Filtering’.

Today, most schools around the world need to abide by laws that ensure students are protected from harmful online content and/or practices and support vulnerable students.

In the US, for instance, K12 schools and libraries need to stay CIPA Compliant (Children’s Internet Protection Act).

*Learn more about becoming CIPA Compliant with GAT Shield here.

 

Many schools also choose to expand their internet safety and filtering efforts beyond CIPA to keep students focused on academic activities rather than getting too distracted online.

This all presents school admins and security officers with a dilemma as Chromebooks do not offer the ability to filter internet traffic.

To that, K-12 schools need a third-party monitoring tool to filter content on student Chromebooks.  This helps you set more granular policies and alerts, whether students are on or off of school property.

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Chromebook Downloads Management

Downloads can also bring in a whole range of hazards.  

From downloading inappropriate content to risky Chrome extensions, Chrome apps and hosted apps. (Learn more about Chrome extensions and their access risk here).

That’s why downloads management is another essential every K-12 admin needs, especially if your school only permits apps that have gone through the district’s vetting process.

Ideally, you need to monitor and manage domain-wide download, with the ability to report on and remove questionable downloads on Chromebooks.

 

ChromeOS Device Access Management

Another vital thing to stay on top of is device access management by detecting secondary users.

This helps you ensure that students are actually using their school accounts (rather than personal accounts) to sign into their Google chrome devices.

You’ll also be able spot any unusual log-ins that may indicate suspicious activity on your ChromeOS devices.

 

Chromebook Managed Guest Sessions

Finally, if your school provides shared Chromebook devices, then deploying managed guest sessions to your fleet is one final essential.

Managed guest sessions give you IT control while allowing multiple users to securely share the same Chrome device without the need to sign in. Read more here.

GAT Shield offers a wide range of reporting capabilities for Chromebook Managed Guest Sessions.

See in detail the usage of your devices and their location while protecting the anonymity of your users.

 

Today, Chromebooks have become a vital lifeline for thousands of K-12 schools, supporting this eLearning mission with their simplistic usability, durability and friendly prices. 

By covering these essentials ahead of the school year you can better prepare your Chromebooks for school, improve day-to-day IT operations and limit unwanted surprises.

Thanks for sharing and spreading the word!