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Manage your Chromebook fleet without touching a single device

The day has come: it’s time to update and configure all of your school’s Chromebooks for the new school year. Once upon a time, you might have had to set aside an entire week for this process, but today Chromebook users have access to a nifty tool called the Chrome Management Console.

What is the management console?

Owning licenses for the Chromebook Management Console unlocks a panel of 78 different options to govern sign-in settings, regulate apps and extensions, security settings, network settings, startup preferences, and many more tweaks that change the way you can manage your Chromebooks. You can explore all these options on Google’s page.

In a Chromebooks case study by Google Education Evangelist Jaime Casap, one tech director says there’s a clear administrative advantage:

“There is no software to install, no imaging that needs to be done. The less administrative burden you have to manage, the more computers you can put out in the classroom and sustain and maintain over time.” —Matthew Peskey, Director of Technology at KIPP LA Schools

Rather than individually touching each device in your network, you can set, change, and block policies and updates to any (or all) of your devices remotely, from a control panel. Those changes can be applied across user groups and organizational units too, like single classes or grades, or state testing devices, for example.

Is it worth the expense?

Typically, licenses for the Chromebook Management Console cost around $30USD to activate, but Brian Dittfeld of Indian Valley Local Schools tells us that the expense pays for itself almost immediately:

“It’s absolutely critical for state testing—I was able to use it to prepare all my Chromebooks in under two minutes. To manually have to touch all of those would take hours, if not more. I tell everyone just to pretend the cost is wrapped in there—without it, you’ll spend far more on man hours on maintaining your devices, than you are just to pay that license cost.” —Brian Dittfeld, IT Director, Indian Valley Local Schools

Brian goes on to say that when his district was looking at Chromebooks as a 1:1 option, the cost of devices plus the cost of Chromebook Management licenses was still significantly lower than any PC options, and from a management standpoint, they offer many more benefits to his IT department.

“I don’t see it so much as a separate cost, as a piece of the total cost of the device. And even when you look at it that way, it’s still usually cheaper than other options.”

If your school works with Chromebooks, 1:1 or not, you should see what the Management Console has to offer. You can check out the complete list of device management policies, and for other ways you can flex your Google Apps Admin Console, you should study up with our 5 must-have tips for Google Apps admins!

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