Google Chromebooks in Education

When it comes to educational hardware decisions, there are a lot of choices out there.  From document cameras and interactive whiteboards to laptops and mobile devices, sometimes it’s hard to tell where to look. Of course, couple this with the myriad of operating systems and software applications and the picture can get even fuzzier.  Sometimes the answer is to simplify.

That’s exactly why our friends at Google have introduced Chromebooks for Education.  We’re sure you’ve heard of Google Apps for Education by now.  Just search the DEN Blogs for “Google Apps” and you’ll see a slew of posts from DEN STARs discussing how they’re integrating them into their instructional practices.  In fact, Google+ Hangouts have become a fantastic and much preferred method of keeping our community connected across the country.  Take a look at the Discovery Education YouTube Channel and search for “DEN Open House” for some great examples.

If you live on Google Apps, you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at the Chromebook. They’re optimized for the web’s vast online resources and work perfectly with the thousands of apps that are favorites amongst educators. They inspire collaboration and encourage students to create and share their own content with the world.  They’re simple, scalable and an affordable way to put technology into the hands of students and teachers.  They go far beyond just taking your favorite Google apps and integrating them seamlessly in a lightweight, portable package. The built in Wi-Fi, optional 3G and robust battery will keep students productive throughout the school day.

Google is doing their best to share stories of how schools and teachers are integrating Chromebooks into the classroom, and they’d love to hear from you.  If you’re using Chromebooks, leave a comment on this post telling us about it.  Better yet, zoom on over to the Google in Education Google+ page for more information. There you can find events like the Google Hangout discussing how to run an effective Chromebooks pilot. Or, simply learn more about Chromebooks here.

Comments

  1. DENnis Grice

    Steve,
    Great blog post as usual. We started using Chromebooks this year in grade 5. We replaced an aging WindowsXP laptop cart with a cart of Chomebooks. All the students have accounts on our Google Apps for Education domain and Google Docs has basically replaced Office for our students. Chromebooks are a big winner here. Some of those wins include: 8 second startup time (awesome!), Google Docs automatic save feature (no more excuses like “the dog ate my flashdrive”), students can work on Chromebooks at school and online at home – anywhere they can access “the cloud”. As an admin I appreciate the ability to manage our Chromebooks through the Google Apps Admin panel. I can preset home pages and user settings, push network and wireless settings, and remotely manage numerous other device settings.
    We also use Chromebooks as loaner/rental units for our Middle School BYOD program. Our IT loves that they never have to re-image or update software on machines they just check them in and out and make sure the batteries are charged.
    Since the Chrome OS has Flash built-in, they work just fine on sites that require flash – unlike iPads. One important note – Chromebooks do not run Shockwave – which is not surprising since Linux boxes don’t run Shockwave either. If your students need to access an interactive activity or game that requires the Shockwave Player, they’ll need to find an old Windows or Mac computer. Fortunately most new stuff is being written in HTML5.
    Overall I’d say Chromebooks for Education is a big win. Just this morning a 5th grade teacher asked when we are getting a second cart. Now that the new Chromebooks have dropped to $250 this may happen sooner than we thought. Plus, if the rumors of a touchscreen Chromebook are true, it looks like there are some exciting improvements yet to come.

  2. Ron Houtman

    I bought a Samsung Chromebook a few weeks back (the new version at $249) and put myself on a Chromebook diet. For two weeks, including a trip to an out of state conference (Michigan to Florida in the winter no less) I used the Chromebook exclusively.

    I would consider myself a power-user and normally don’t go anywhere without my Macbook Air or WIN7 laptop – and found that this thing is a worthy competitor for the work I find myself doing. Yes, for presentation creation and delivery, I’d need something like Keynote on my Mac, but for the most part, this will do the job.

    When we get to using Chromebooks in the classroom, I think they would be more than adequate, especially in a Google Apps for Education environment. The battery life was somewhere near 8 hours, the screen is sharp, it plays HD video without skipping (with a good connection), and the keyboard feels very good for such a low cost device.

    In my eyes, I can see these things allowing our students to do about 95% of what they would need to do in the classroom. There are always outlier activities where they may need a more powerful machine, or the ability to install software… but if kids are doing search, research, reading and writing – I don’t think you can beat the Chromebook at this price point.

  3. Craig Steenstra

    I work with a district that has run into problems viewing Quicktime videos while doing Discovery Ed Assessments on Chromebooks. Is there a way to avoid that problem because you can’t load plug-ins on Chromebooks.

Leave a Comment

For your photo to appear next to your name, be sure you have a Gravatar.com account created matching your email address.