Why Schools Should Buy Chromebook Headphones in Bulk

Teaching has evolved over the decades and with each evolution, new teaching methods emerge. Today, classes operate at maximum capacity meaning we have to leverage on technology to maximize learning and facilitate teaching.

Incorporating technology in the learning environment started when the basic whiteboards were replaced with overhead projectors. Later on tablets replaced textbooks, and today, headphones are sort after to overcome audio challenges in the classroom.

Chromebook laptops have leaped into the classroom setting because of several reasons:

  • Price: A Chromebook delivers the same functionality as most laptops, but comes at a fraction of the cost. That means every student can own a laptop.
  • Security: Chromebooks are the most secure laptops in the world because of how their OS operates. Even world-class hackers tip their hat for the Chrome OS.
  • Reliability: A Chromebook on full battery can handle intensive use for an entire day without charging.
  • Instant Power On: Most laptops take anywhere between a few seconds and whole minutes to boot. Chromebooks boot up instantly meaning kids start learning immediately.

To make Chromebooks even more effective as learning instruments, it’s wise to accessorize them with headphones, preferably ones with built-in microphones. Microphones minimize the distractions normally associated with the school environment, thereby maximizing learning and teaching efforts.

Why Schools Should Buy Chromebook Headphones In Bulk

However, buying headphones in singles as opposed to buying in bulk can create a budgetary nightmare. For starters, buying individual headphones means the school doesn’t enjoy the economies of scale. Rarely will you get a discount when you buy a single item, but when you buy in bulk, the seller always cuts off a percentage off the asking price.

Secondly, by buying the headphones in bulk the school’s spending is limited to one budgetary cycle. For instance, a school can buy several thousand headphones at one go in the beginning of the school year and forget about buying new headphones for an entire school year.

However, buying a few headphones at a time means the school is always accounting for money to acquire new headphones. That’s not workable for most schools and districts due to ongoing budgetary cuts.

How to Choose the Right Headphones for Chromebooks

Now that we agree schools should buy Chromebook headphones in bulk, you might be wondering how you should go about choosing the right Chromebook headphones for a classroom setting.

There are only a few things you should really look into when buying headphones for a classroom. Some of these things are specific to the Chromebook laptops, but they can apply in other cases where you need headphones for classroom settings. Let’s kick off with the general variables you have to take into account.

General Variables

  1. Budget and Longevity

The school’s budget and that of the school district greatly influence purchase decisions. Generally, schools would prefer to spend only once on headphone purchases. Therefore, you’ll have to choose headphones that will last all year long. That includes both testing and actual use.

Ask yourself, how much will it cost the school to purchase headphones for testing and all year-long use? If the cost is a bit high, you may contemplate buying small samples first for testing, and when you get the right headphones that won’t affect the kid’s hearing; you can place a bulk order.

  1. Durability

With schools trying to rein in spending at every possible chance, the only way to get the school or district to commit to Chromebook headphones is with a guarantee from the manufacturer. The manufacturer must be able to guarantee the headphones will survive the war and tear of being folded, stretched and dropped expected among in young students.

  1. Comfort

Learning and testing call for high levels of attention that cannot be attained when an object sits awkwardly on the ears. While trying out different headphones stick with the ones comfortable for the kids. That will help them stay focused and get the most out of their Chromebooks at school. That said, the most comfortable headphones are the over-the-ear models because they sit comfortably and block out noise interference.

Chromebook Specific Variables

  1. USB Type C Connections

Chromebooks sometimes may not have a headphone jack. Instead they have a USB port where you can plug in any media you want to use with the laptop. Therefore you have to make sure the headphones you are about to buy have a USB Type C connector rather than a jack.

  1. Stereo

Almost all Chromebooks support stereo sound transmission. That means audio from the laptops goes over two channels before getting to the output device. Stereo headphones have the advantage of making digital signals sound more naturally than mono headphones.

Does Buying a Chromebook Headphones with A Microphone Worth the Extra Cost?

You are probably vaguely familiar with Chromebooks, Google powered netbooks that cost the same amount as a low end smartphone. If you are a ‘power user’ then you may have dismissed the entire Chromebook species as unworthy of anything other than posting a couple of tweets and checking your email. If you are in this group, let’s look at a couple of reasons why you should buy a Chromebook before we talk about separate headsets for your Chromebook.

Why Buy a Chromebook

You shouldn’t be too quick to judge though. There are dozens of reasons why all major laptop manufacturers have jumped on the Chromebook bandwagon. These Chromebooks come with decent hardware specs, and amazing performance levels. And the good news is, with a few hundred dollars, you can own one. That’s a fraction of the cost you’d pay for an Apple or a Windows laptop.

  1. Chrome OS Runs Doesn’t Gobble Up Computer Resources

The reason why Chromebooks are so cheap is because they Google’s Chrome OS. The OS uses fewer resources, unlike other OSes. That means manufacturers can stick cheap hardware on Chromebooks and sell them for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a traditional laptop.

Does cheaper hardware mean poor performance? In the case of Chromebooks, the answer is a definite no. Chrome OS is basically a modified version of the Chrome browser. That means the OS doesn’t require vast system resources to get things done. In fact, low-end Chromebooks boot instantly, which you cannot say for other laptops. The downside however is, you have to connect your Chromebook to the internet to accomplish most tasks.

  1. Instant Access to Online Apps

Google and other third parties have done a lot improve on this with more and more apps supporting offline use. These apps later synchronize with their respective web services once you reconnect to the internet, so that’s not too much of a disadvantage. Also, the newest version of Chrome OS will support Android applications later on this year.

Therefore, if you find yourself doing most of your work on the internet, it’s very advisable to invest in a Chromebook costing a couple of hundred dollars than buying a laptop that costs thousands more.

Those are just two reasons why you should buy a Chromebook. There are lots of other reasons but hopefully these will convince you Chrome OS is a serious contender. Now, let’s move on to the real meat of the article: Do you need to buy a separate headphones and microphone for your Chromebook?

 

 

You Should Invest in a Headset

Most Chromebooks come with an in-built camera, microphone and speaker. Most of the time they go about their job very well, allowing you to take advantage of Google Hangouts and other voice and video conferencing platforms.

However, some circumstances call for a dedicated pair of headphones and a microphone. Take the following situations for example.

  1. You are on the road and someone calls you on Google Hangouts. Obviously, the built-in microphone and speakers won’t help you very much here because of the noise interference. A separate microphone and mic with noise cancellation allows you to hold your end of the conversation.
  2. You are in the library and you don’t want to disturb others around you. If you use the built-in speaker and microphone pair, everyone around you will shush you. A separate microphone and headphone makes allows you to have discrete conversations without being disturbed or getting on the nerves of everyone else around you.
  3. For teachers and educators, separate headphones and microphones can increase productivity levels in the classroom. A teacher can control the volume settings selecting which audio track students listen too. That may very well put an end to classroom distractions where several speakers talk at once.
  4. You are attending a virtual class. The beauty about virtual classes, or online learning, is that you can study from anywhere. During your lunch break, you can jump into one of these classes and get in an hour of class time. Using the built-in speakers and microphone won’t do you a great deal of service, but a separate headphone and microphone will.

Again, those are some of the benefits of buying separate headphones and microphones with Chromebooks. There are lots of other situation-specific reasons to do this, but it’s worth the extra cost. Also, if you are conscious about how traditional headsets look (at times you look like a lost air traffic controller), there are discreetly designed audio systems that don’t have a protruding microphone.

How do you Diagnose a Chromebook Headphone Audio Problem?

How do you diagnose a Chromebook headphone audio problem?

Some users of the Chromebook have reported having audio issues. They have reported completely silent sound or one that’s cutting out without warning. For both the sound from the speakers and headphones, there are a variety of problems that can cause this. There are a number of things you can do to diagnose and fix Chromebook headphone audio problems. Here are steps you can follow:

  • Check that the headphones are securely plugged in.

For many, this might seem a silly and obvious solution but you might be having sound problems because you have not plugged into your headphone jack into the Chromebook fully. So, ensure you push the headphones jack in. A mild push won’t help. Give it a good push until you hear a click as the jack settles in.

  • Try using a different set of headphones or ear-buds.

If you are not hearing any sound through your headphones, it might just be that your headphones are faulty. Your headphones might be broken and not the Chromebook. The solution is as simple as trying a different set of headphones to see if it works.

  • Closing the lid of the Chromebook.

If your headphones are not working it could be that your Chromebook is not recognizing your audio devices. So unplug the headphones from the jack on the Chromebook. Close the lid of the Chromebook and wait for ten seconds. Plug the headphones back into the jack. When you open the lid, the Chromebook will rescan your audio devices. You can be sure your headphones will be found among the list of devices.

If that doesn’t work, unplug the headphones and turn off the Chromebook. Plug the headphones back into the jack and turn on the Chromebook again. The Chromebook should be able to rescan your audio devices on start-up. Your headphones are, certainly, going to be on the list of discovered devices.

  • Check your sound settings.

To see your sound settings, check the right corner of your screen where you will see a series of icons. Click on your account profile picture at the very right so as to reveal a window showing information about the Chromebook. Ensure the audio volume is at a high volume. Unmute is if it’s unmuted. Also, check that the output settings are right. It should show ‘headphones’ if you are listening through your headphones. Similarly, change it to ‘speakers’ if you want to listen through the Chromebook speakers.

  • Clear the cache.

If you are having audio issues, you can resolve some of them by clearing the cache. To clear the cache, follow these easy steps:

  • Start by clicking on the chrome settings button in your browser. It looks like three horizontal lines at the top right corner of your screen.
  • Click on ‘Tools’ followed by ‘Clear Browsing Data’.
  • Select the option of clearing information ‘From the Beginning of time’.
  • Ensure that you only select the ‘Empty the Cache’ option.
  • Click on ‘Clear Browsing Data’.

Once you have cleared the cache, turn the Chromebook off and back on again. Try the sound now. Is it working? If it isn’t resolved, move to the next step.

  • Disable all extensions.

The sound issues on your Chromebook could be the result of some faulty extensions. To solve this problem, you should disable all extensions and check if the sound is now working. If it is, then the problem was one of the extensions. Next re-enable each of these extensions, one-by-one as you check its effect on the sound. If one of your enabled extensions cause a break in the sound, there you have your culprit. Find instructions on how to disable your extensions on the Chromebook support page online. However, if turning off your extensions doesn’t work, turn all of them back on before moving to the next step.

  • Browse as a guest.

First, turn off your Chromebook, wait till it’s completely off, and turn it on again. When you see the login screen, select ‘Browse as Guest’. With this, you will be able to run the Chromebook without any special settings that you might have added. While here, try to play the sound again. If it works, you are having some broken setting or component in your normal login. You need to fix this completely by resetting your Chromebook.

  • Reset your Chromebook

By going through this step, you are going to wipe out all the data from your Chromebook. You, therefore, first need to run a data backup. Follow the following steps to bring your Chromebook back to the state it was when you bought it:

  • Click on your account profile picture in the lower right corner of your screen.
  • Click on ‘Settings’ to open a window showing various options.
  • Look at the bottom of this window and click on ‘Show Advanced Settings’.
  • Look for the ‘Powerwash’ label and when you find it click on ‘Reset’.
  • A window will open. Look for ‘Restart’ and click on it.

The Chromebook should be able to restart. In the set-up window, enter your Google account information. When you are done, try playing a sound. If it works, congratulations!

Well, go on and fix your Chromebook’s sound problems.