Chromebooks for education is a smart move

 

Using Chromebooks for education is a smart move. The major market right now for Chromebooks it is actually in the educational district, used by teachers and students in many schools across the United States. In fact, there are more Chromebooks being used in educational systems than Chromebooks for consumers, like you and I. Since Chromebooks are being used in school systems, Google gets their foot in the door for early exposure to their laptop and OS. New students who’ve never used the computer before will start learning how to use a Chromebook and may, in fact, prefer them over Windows or Macintosh computers. That’s a smart move by Google.

Chromebooks for education in the classroom encourage students to help each other.
Chromebooks for education in the classroom encourage students to help each other.

What place do Chromebooks have for education?

Chromebooks are very cheap and affordable, which makes Chromebooks for education a smart play. The low is  price what makes them easy to pick up for educational systems and give students the opportunity to use such a device. They’re fast, efficient, easy to use, and don’t cost a whole lot per unit.

The Central Kitsap School District have embraced and applauded Chromebooks for their ability to enhance learning. Over 6,100 students have access to a Chromebook laptop, which is simply amazing. Many schools have computers that are outdated, slow, or just don’t have enough to provide for all the students that need computer access. A lot of schools just have computers in their library, but even then it’s not enough. Colleges and universities face the same problem. There are definitely a hefty supply of computers, but it’s just not enough. Students need access to computers for printing, responding to emails, collaborative projects, or just for checking Twitter between classes.

Firsthand experience

No matter the case, I experience this problem firsthand in college. There are so many computers, and so many more students that need access to computer. Lines would form outside the library. You’d walk in the library, and you’re scanning the room for a head and monitor that don’t match up. You’re trying to find a monitor without a head right behind it. When you found one it was like finding gold. You would run over there as fast as you can, plop down your stuff, and glue yourself to the computer for as long as possible and squeeze out every single ounce of computer time that you could possibly obtain. Yeah, it was really that bad. The worst part is when you have a project you’ve done that you needed printed out and it’s due in your next class. But, you don’t have a computer to print it from. Sometimes I would actually go up to random people and ask if I can print something real fast. I would scan the room for people who don’t look like they really do anything too productive so there’s a high chance that they would say yes. Yeah. Lack of computers isn’t cool. At all.

Students and teachers praise the Chromebook in the classroom

So, moving on, it’s a blessing that Google has created such a machine that’s so affordable. Now, for those 6,100 students, they have access to a Chromebook and can get their stuff done. It seems that CKSD teachers are especially proud of the Chromebook laptops. The teachers told the school’s board members that the Chromebooks improve student engagement and had a hugely positive impact in reaching students that were tech-savvy, as well as making the teachers’ jobs themselves much, much easier.

CKSD board president Bruce Richards states that:

“technology is going so fast…it’s amazing to see how quickly this has been embraced in the district,”

Indeed Mr. Richards.

Chromebooks are widely used in school systems.
Chromebooks are widely used in school systems.

With Chromebooks being so affordable, many school districts can afford them even with budget cuts. States that have been hit hard with cuts, such as California, can afford Chromebooks with due to their low price. Rather than upgrading and replacing desktops to a more expensive machine, a Chromebook is an excellent replacement since it offers high performance at a low price. The same performance on a Windows-based machine would be significantly higher due to the licensing costs that Windows commands. Unlike the Chromebook, which runs on Chrome OS- being that it’s free and open source. The computers at CDSD are paid for by their own school funds and the Department of Defense Education Activity grant. Chromebooks for education is supported by more than just school districts.

Why Chromebooks instead of Windows?

Before upgrading to Chromebook laptops for education, the school district had a traditional PC-based Windows computer offering that had outdated hardware and software. The machines were slow, had bugs and vulnerabilities (and were probably running a copy of Windows XP). But that’s just a guess. Since upgrading to Chromebooks, the school district has installed Wi-Fi spots throughout the schools and replaced the PCs with Chromebook laptops. This upgrade allows the students to bring their own Wi-Fi capable devices as well as use Chromebooks throughout the campus. This is a major upgrade. Good job. If you want to know more differences between Windows and Chromebooks, we have a guide for that.

Chromebooks take over the education market

The change was not instant. In 2014 the educational district had a mere 30 Chromebooks in use in a single classroom at the Brownsville Elementary campus. In 2015, that number jumped to 2,200 Chromebooks for education in grades 7-8, and also grade 6 at the same campus. In 2016, that number increased to 6,100 Chromebooks for grades 5-6. Now they have a ratio of 1 to 1 access. This basically means one Chromebook for every one student. No more searching for computers.

And, an additional 400 Chromebooks are in use by the educational staff. Let’s not forget about the teachers. Chromebooks are used for education, and the teachers provide said education.

Chromebooks for school

Being so ingrained using Windows-based machines, the district considered using Windows laptops, but decided against it because of three primary reasons:

  • The Chromebooks were compatible with Microsoft Office products such as word excel and PowerPoint
  • The Chromebooks ran on batteries that will last the entire school day
  • Chromebooks were less expensive

These three reasons are some of many advantages that Chromebooks have versus a Windows-based laptop, and it was a smart move by the district to go for Chromebooks. Chromebooks for education isn’t just a saying. It’s a real thing. And it’s a smart move.

Privacy and students’ use of Chromebooks at school

With a widespread upgrade like this, the district did run into some problems.

One issue is to make sure that all students have equatable internet access at home and not just at school. Some schools have started allowing their students to take the Chromebooks home for educational purposes. Of course, there would have to be some kind of Wi-Fi connection available at home to make this work.

Another issue is students using the Chromebooks for social media, YouTube, and other activities besides education. The CDSD has been working on a parent’s guide to school technology and use of the Chromebooks. It is basically a collaborative guide to help the students out and ensure the best educational use of their laptop.

Another issue of privacy. Although the Chromebook itself is a very secure machine, students can still broadcast private and sensitive information over the internet- whether intentionally or accidentally. Actions such as signing up for an account, or posting on forums, or just generally being exposed to the world of the internet. These are issues and concerns that many school districts will have to face and overcome in order to use Chromebooks in the educational sense.

Chromebooks for education

Chromebooks are winning the approval of teachers and students nationwide.
Chromebooks are winning the approval of teachers and students nationwide.

It’s awesome to see these laptops being used in the educational system. With Chromebooks being a super affordable machine that offers high performance, there’s no doubt that it would easily get picked up by schools everywhere. With many students learning how to use a Chromebook and embracing them, the consumer market for Chromebooks may even overcome the educational market for Chromebooks. Chrome OS may be the next Windows in the educational system. Chromebook manufacturers are already making machines for the business person- a line of Chromebooks called “Chromebooks for Work.” So, now we have Chromebooks for Education, Chromebooks for Work, and Chromebook for the consumer.

Whatever the case, there’s a Chromebook for that. It’s a Chromebook invasion.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

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