Chromebook Enrollment: Options and Answers

It Departments & Chromebooks: Love at First Site

Knowing what Chrome device you are going to implement is half the battle. The day has come that they have arrived, all 10,000 of them, and now it’s time to get to work. Enrolling your devices can be daunting, especially if you have many of them. Even a refresh of 500 Chromebooks can leave you cooped up in a room, enrolling for the better part of a week. There are a few different options available for enrollment, and which one you choose will depend on the device quantity, time available, and your budget.

Manual Enrollment

Like every Google for Education product, there is always a free way to accomplish something, but depending on your device numbers, this could mean weeks of manual input and reinput (there’s always a few that get a number or letter messed up after being entered hundreds or thousands of times)

Pros: Free, easy, and you can enter asset IDs during enrollment

Cons: Requires touching every device, user error can require wiping a device, no easy means of bulk enrolling, and requires giving credentials to assistants

Manual Enrollment +

This method involves a little less work, but it does require you to purchase a barcode scanner. Low-cost scanners don’t always work. Invest in a quality barcode scanner; you can thank us later. This method allows you to scan and process each unit quickly but requires touching every device.

Pros: Reduces time entering credentials, reduces human error, protects credentials, and you can scan asset tags during enrollment

Cons: Requires USB Scanner that works with ChromeOS and still requires touching every device

White Glove Enrollment

It is exactly what it sounds like. A company does all the heavy lifting by inspecting and configuring the device before it arrives at your door.

Pros: Devices arrive enrolled, already updated to the newest Chrome OS version, and with Verification that device policy was fetched

Cons: Expensive, enrollment may not follow best practices, and there is limited transparency and control

Automated Enrollment

Automated enrollment happens using Centipede, a free, self-serve solution that packages together an inexpensive microcontroller. You have the ability to program the device to use your own settings for WiFi and enrollment credentials, and it will enroll a device for you. Plug the Arduino into a Chromebook and let it do the keystrokes through the enrollment screens, setting SSID, network passwords, and clicking Next for you — allowing you to enroll many more devices per hour.

Pros: Unattended execution, inexpensive, eliminates human error, protects credentials, Arduino is reusable

Cons: Requires touching every device and requires programming the Arduino

Once you have your devices and you’ve chosen the enrollment route you plan to take, the next thing to consider is the enrollment best practices. This includes creating a user for each enrollment location and placing them in the OU where you want the devices, completing the configuration of user settings in the target OU, and turning on the asset identifier during enrollment.

Post-enrollment, Chrome users, devices, and Organizational Units (OU’s) all require setting configurations to ensure correct policies and environments. The Admin console allows schools to customize device and user settings depending on their needs.

If you aren’t sure, here are a few questions to help determine whether you are on the right track or not:

Configuring Device Settings

Are students getting around your policies?

Are you making it easy for students to log in?

Are your devices getting updated?

Are you restricting versions when testing?

Configuring Chrome User Settings

Are your students able to browse anonymously?

Are you enforcing Google Safe Search and YouTube Restricted Mode?

Can students clear their browsing history?

Are you personalizing your staff and student’s Chrome environment?

Are you pushing out bookmarks?

Skipping any of these will cost you time and extra work in the long run. Once you are all enrolled, it will be time to think about management and ask those configuration questions. When it comes to post-enrollment Chrome management, check out Gopher for Chrome. It is another one of our tools created to simplify device management. 


Document Version Date Description of Change
1.0 3/12/2024 updated link from AIT site to inspiration for centipede and G4C on the CDWG site
1.1 6/3/2024 Removed Centipede video per Chris M. Sent to Kendall for review


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