5 Ways To Use Google Admin Console for Better School Chromebook Management
Chromebooks have become the standard laptop for elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools embracing 1-to-1 technology for a number of reasons—their affordability, built-in malware protection, relevant Chrome Webstore apps, and lightning-fast Chrome OS. They also take only seconds to boot, and their outstanding battery life means they last the entire school day.
However, Chromebook devices require effective management to get the full value out of them, whether students are 100% remote learning or going back to school in person. For those school districts using Chromebook devices, the Google Admin console is the central hub for all things related to Chromebook management.
The Google Admin console gives K-12 IT teams access to enterprise-level device management capabilities. And when managing thousands of Chromebooks districtwide, it’s a necessary tool to make sure technology-driven classrooms stay up and running throughout the school year and beyond.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at 5 ways the Google Admin console supports Chromebook management in schools (but also how it might be slowing down your IT team).
5 Ways Google Admin Console Supports School Chromebook Management
1. Conduct touchless device deployments
When in-person laptop distribution isn’t possible, the Google Admin console makes it easy for school districts to deploy thousands of Google devices at once with “touchless deployments.”
The Google Admin console’s zero-touch enrollment feature is a remote alternative to manual enrollment. K-12 teams can use this feature to enroll a Chromebook device into a student’s domain as soon as their device is turned on and connected to Wi-Fi.
While it was originally developed for general enterprise use, touchless deployments allow school districts to bulk-enroll their Google devices without the devices ever exchanging hands. It’s the ideal solution for K-12 districts with remote learners, hybrid classrooms, or a shortage of on-hand staff.
2. Increase visibility with detailed device metadata
In order for IT teams to support student Chromebooks effectively, they need to have access to detailed asset history.
The Google Admin console gives its users access to in-depth device metadata on all the Chromebooks in their fleet, and allows IT teams to pinpoint specific data points. These include model, Chrome OS version, last login date, firmware information, and more.
Having detailed information about a district’s devices allows console users to properly diagnose IT problems and resolve support requests more easily. The easier it is for IT teams to resolve help desk issues, the easier it is for students to complete their school work, and the longer your laptops are bound to last.
3. Take action when a device goes missing
Any organization managing a fleet of devices needs to have security measures in place in case devices become lost or stolen. Without them, sensitive school and student information becomes at risk of being accessed by potentially dangerous users outside their organization. This is especially true in large school districts where Google Chromebooks and other vulnerable district devices are an easy target.
To meet these challenges, K-12 teams can use the Google Admin console to remotely lock, disable, or de-provision a Chromebook device at any time. From here, users can also access additional device insights, including:
- When a Google device was originally enrolled
- The last time a policy sync for a device occurred
- Any recent users who have logged in to a device
Using the data points above, your IT team can see how long a device has been in use, if its policies are up-to-date, or even if students are using the devices that were originally assigned to them. This gives your school district’s IT pros more control over student devices and keeps potentially vulnerable district technology safe.
4. Distribute IT admin privileges throughout your team
When managing student devices that contain sensitive information, you may not want to give everyone on your IT team access to advanced admin functions or permissions.
Within the Google Admin console, a user (a.k.a. a Super Administrator) can manage every aspect of your school district’s account. This includes choosing what features individual users/agents can access, and who can perform specific admin functions.
So what’s the benefit here?
Google Admin console’s custom administrator roles allow IT teams to share the responsibility of managing their district’s Google Workspace. Distributing specific admin privileges throughout your IT team also eliminates potential security challenges that arise when everyone has access to your console’s settings and service privileges—such as oversharing passwords to sensitive systems.
5. Audit and record changes to district devices
Regular device audits are a crucial task for K-12 IT teams. Student technology can eat up a significant portion of a school district’s budget, so it’s critical that district devices are regularly audited and accounted for.
The Google Admin console helps school districts audit their devices through its Devices audit log—a record of all the events and changes that occur within a district’s devices.
Within the audit log, administrators can see:
- When a student adds their account to a device
- If a device’s password doesn’t comply with your district’s password policy
- Alert notifications whenever a device activity occurs
Conducting audits through the devices audit log helps K-12 IT teams ensure student accountability and protect their district’s investment in technology.
The glaring problem with Google Admin console
Where exactly does the Google Admin console fall short?
It obviously provides IT teams with advanced device management capabilities and has the breadth and depth of features to back it up—but that’s also its greatest drawback.
Out of the box, the Google Admin console is a siloed tool with a steep learning curve. For IT admins that want to quickly onboard other team members, share audit reports with relevant staff, or perform support functions from the console, they’ll need several additional tools and integrations to get the job done.
While the console is convenient for managing Google devices like student Chromebooks, it doesn’t have the versatility required to keep up with the rapid pace of technology usage and development in school classrooms.
A comprehensive toolkit for K-12 IT teams
What’s the logical next step for IT teams looking to better manage student Chromebooks?
There are several K-12 help desk solutions and asset management tools that perform powerful individual functions. However, they leave IT teams switching between platforms to keep up with their district devices and deliver adequate support.
That’s why districts need a way to bring the effectiveness of the Google Admin console into their support tech stack.
IT teams who use the Google devices integration for Incident IQ can bring district device data into their school help desk software, making it easier for users to submit help requests, and provide IT agents with the information they need to resolve help requests quickly.
The time-saving benefits of a Google Admin console integration add up quickly—staff spends less time manually entering device data for a support request, and IT agents get all the information they need, without having to switch back and forth between systems.
Check out our Google devices integration or school asset management software to see the tools that are helping K-12 IT teams support and manage student Chromebooks.