We’ve gone 1:1 with school owned Chromebooks. Here’s how we deal with repairs, insurance, and theft.
I’m running a pilot project to give all of our students and teachers their own personal Chromebook from school budget. No parental leasing or contributions — we want there to be no barrier to access. But with that comes several issues, the biggest of which is repair costs and damage. Ultimately we want all of our 900 students to have a school provided Chromebook that they can take home, but what happens if that Chromebook gets damaged, stolen, or lost? The school owns the hardware, so who covers the cost and is insurance a factor?
Insurance and Warranty
Because the cost of each Chromebook is so low — around £150 per unit — it simply wasn’t worth taking out additional insurance or warranty cover. Some insurance estimates we received almost doubled the device cost — we could literally buy a brand new Chromebook for the same price. Even if we had to replace 50% of the Chromebooks given out, we’d still be spending less money than if we’d taken out insurance, and we won’t have to deal with all the red tape.
Most of the repairs we deal with in-house. We have a solid team of technicians who can swap out most parts, and the benefit of Chromebooks is that they’re really easy to take apart — we can replace a screen in less than 5 minutes. Parts are also really cheap, we can pick up a replacement screen for around £30.
If a cracked screen comes in we hand the student another Chromebook and off they go leaving us to deal with the repair. The most important thing is that they student is never disadvantaged for genuine accidents. The process has to be seamless.
We have also organised with the Chromebook manufacturer to get our technicians certified to carry out warranty repairs. Once this has been completed, we’ll be able to do Chromebook repairs without breaking warranty and have direct access to official parts at a reduced price.
When do we charge students?
We don’t charge students to repair genuine accidents, only where we believe the device to have been treated badly. Yes, there are Chromebooks dropped, sat on, and knocked, but we deal with these within the school budget. The outlay has been a fraction of our desktop repair costs. We have greater potential for damage, but repair costs are significantly less per device.
We’ve also found that students are very precious of their Chromebooks. They may be school property but just like their mobile phone the Chromebook is a very personal device for students, and they look after them well.
Chromebook — the disposable computer
The price and transportability of data makes the Chromebook an almost disposable computer. Swap outs take seconds, repairs minutes, and the costs are low. In the first month we spent £90 on repairs for a fleet of 300 Chromebooks. This will increase as the devices age, but even if we had to completely replace 50% of devices the next 3 years we’d still have spent less than we usually spend on our desktop refresh plan. For us the Chromebook is the perfect device. How about you?