Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chromebooks - definitely awesome for education

Back in May of 2012, I wrote about Google Chromebooks and how they were great for education. Two and a half years and 11,000 Chromebooks later, I stand by this even more.

Our district has over 11,000 Chromebooks deployed in grades 3-12. We also have a high school using Windows laptops.

Here's why I recommend Chromebooks:
  1. inexpensive - average cost, with laser etching, Chrome management and setup is around $310 per device. Compare to around $600-$900 for comparable Windows laptop and around $600 for an iPad with keyboard. 
  2. Performance - I use an Acer C720 Chromebook with 4GB RAM (we have thousands of these in district) and the performance is excellent - very fast, even with multiple tabs open.
  3. You can do anything - there is a web app to match pretty much any software and they even work offline and you can now run some Android apps on them. You can also view, edit and create Office documents right inside Google Drive on a Chromebook. 
  4. Work for testing - they are compatible with PARCC and SBAC.
  5. Easy to deploy - we got them pre-enrolled in our domain and setup in the carts. All we had to do was deliver the cart to the school.
  6. Easy to manage - a thousand times easier to manage than laptops or tablets. Everything happens in the Admin Console, which is very easy to use. 
  7. Easy to support - most problems are fixed with a simple reset (takes 10 seconds). If that doesn't work a factory wipe and re-enroll often fixes the issue (about 10 minutes). If that doesn't work, send it back to the manufacturer. 
  8. Easy to use - teachers and students need little training to use them.
  9. Google Apps for Education - great apps that work perfectly with Chromebooks.
  10. Resources - websites, communities and resources galore for using Chromebooks in the classroom. And Google provides excellent support. 
Chromebooks aren't for everyone or every application. For instance, they can't run PowerSchool's Gradebook app (it's still based on Java) and online CAD programs are limited. But, they are a great device for most education (and business and personal) use. I even recommend Chromeboxes as desktop replacements.

If you are interested in learning more about Chromebooks and Google Apps in Education, I am available for consulting about selection, deployment, setup and training and use. 




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