The Google Chrome web browser released without a lot of fanfare and entered an arena that had plenty of web browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari and many others) but is well on it’s way to significantly changing the world of education. The most significant impact has been realized within the area of apps that load within the chrome browser. If you have not explored what is out there, now is the time. The Chrome Web Store consists of hundreds of thousands of apps and the number and quality of free apps for education is almost unbelievable.
As if free apps for education wasn’t enough, the management and zero-touch deployment of these apps are as simple as creating an email address using the Google Apps for Education interface. To say this greatly reduces the cost for schools to support and install apps on computers is a ridiculous understatement. What one or two technically-savvy people can do with these tools are again “almost unbelievable”.
Now enter the $250 Chromebook, that’s right… two-hundred-and-fifty-dollars for a laptop. Overnight it appears that Google has accomplished what seemed to have been years away; an affordable, easy to deploy, (and dare I say) long-term sustainable solution for education. Where each student has a laptop complete with online textbook access, interactive apps, collaborative capabilities and everything web.
The downside… of course there is always a downside. Many schools are using wireless technologies and cable modem access that may not have the network backbone and wireless (802.11n) technologies required to support this environment, so for some there may be a significant upgrade need to accomplish this. However, if you are a school that has recently upgraded or is looking into new equipment and perhaps building new facilities the timing to embrace this advancement is perfect!