CNet has an article about Google’s stripped-down Chromebook laptops, and their placement in schools. In a speech at the Florida Educational Technology Converence yesterday, Rajen Sheth, Google’s leader of Chromebook work for business and education, announced that hundreds of schools across 41 states have outfitted at least one classroom with Chromebooks.
Three schools in Illinois, Iowa, and South Carolina will be outfitting all their students with the devices—over 27,000 in all. The schools appreciate the advantages the device offers of constant updates, cloud storage, and “invisibility” in terms of booting and use—teachers can focus on instruction rather than technical support.
Students do like tablets such as the iPad, but they seem to be taking to Chromebooks just as well.
"Students love the tablet. I am not going to hide that from you," said Diane Gilbert, an English teacher at Kelly Mill Middle School in Blythewood, S.C., who’s taught with tablets in her classroom. She added, though, that Chromebooks have a place: "They will bow down and kiss your feet for a tablet or for a [Chromebook]. But I’m a language arts teacher. My goal is to have students publish their work–create and publish. The [Chromebook] is more alike to a laptop or a desktop in the ability to publish."
Which type of device is better for education? The iPad will allow for interactive textbooks, but there’s no reason that such textbooks couldn’t be used on the Chromebook as well—indeed, Kno’s textbooks can be accessed from any web browser. And the Chromebook’s keyboard and Google Docs word processor means that students can write papers and other creative works on it much more easily than they could on the keyboardless iPad. At a suggested retail price of $349.99, the Chromebook is $150 cheaper than the basic iPad, too—a big savings when it comes to schools buying tens of thousands of them.