The Story of Project Chrome

In the spirit of innovation and creativity, Silvermine Academy is launching a new initiative called Project Chrome. As you may or may not know, we are aspiring to become a Google Reference School which means that we make use of Google Workspace for Education to teach our students how to excel in the cloud-based environment. Cloud-based platforms are already the most prevalent tool for collaboration in most workplaces. It allows people to work together at the time from different physical spaces. It also emphasises access to information and can greatly increase productivity. 

At Silvermine Academy, each student gets a dedicated Google Workspace account when they enrol and all of the classroom information, textbook orders and internal communication is managed on the school’s secure domain. We piloted this approach in 2022 from a purely administrative perspective and the results were amazing! We found that we could eliminate the use of school Whatsapp Groups altogether and share resources with our students via Google Classroom. In the Edtech space, most software works with Google making it possible for students to access multiple platforms and software with a single sign-in. Going into 2023, each one of our teachers has qualified as a Level 1 Google Educator and everyone one of our teachers have committed to continuous professional development in this regard. 

One of our main drives behind the use of the Google tools has been to give our students access to software that can be used on various operating systems and across various devices. Using their school Google Account, SMA students can access their homework and resources from any device with internet access. From 2023, they also have the option to integrate their textbooks using the ebook platform, Snapplify.  

The Future of Google Workspace at SMA

As we move into the next phase of our Google Workspace plans, we would like to introduce Chromebooks to our school. In our ideal world, each SMA student would have a dedicated device that they can use on campus. This would eliminate the need for students to use their phones during class time unless it is expressly required. Using dedicated, school-managed devices would allow us to most effectively integrate Google Classroom and other wonderful apps into the classroom. Technology in its current form will never fully replace teachers and the power of face to face interaction. At SMA we believe that technology can support teaching and learning and push it to the next level. 

We intend to buy new Chromebooks in phases until we have sufficient devices but due to costs it will take time. In the meantime we have found a wonderfully disruptive solution! Mrs Davids and I have discovered that by using Chrome OS Flex we can turn an out-of-date laptop into a functional Chromebook. 

How does it work?

We do this by loading the Chrome OS Flex as the laptop’s primary operating system. This operating system is lighter and requires very little from the machine as all the functionality essentially happens in the browser. This can work on any Windows or Mac device. 

The minimum requirements are: 

How can you help?

As part of the SMA community, we ask that you consider donating your old and unused laptops to our school for Project Chrome. We are happy to accept any unused or outdated laptops provided that they can boot up (switch on) and have a functioning charger and battery. Even if they do not meet the minimum requirements we may be able to upgrade them to work. Be part of the change! 

If you are interested or you know of a company or organisation who may be able to help, please feel free to put them in touch with us. They can email us at or give us a call on 021 788 6903. 

By Urshula Saindon / Principal 2023