For the past year or so, I’ve heard buzz come and go about Chromebooks. There’s a definite appeal… It boots quickly, batteries last forever, they don’t get viruses, setup is simple, and the pricepoint…
Just recently, the latest Chromebook was announced:
11.6’’ (1366×768) display
0.7 inches thin – 2.42 lbs / 1.1 kg
Over 6.5 hours of battery 1
Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor
100 GB Google Drive Cloud Storage2 with Solid State Drive
Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
Bluetooth 3.0™ Compatible
And did I mention it’s $249?
So, why am I not totally on this for our 1:1 program? Good question. We’ve had a laptop program for over 10 years, and our kids have been using tablets for the past five. Chromebooks rock with we based applications, but that’s only about half of what we do. The other half needs tools like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Audacity, Inspiration, Comic Life, Scratch, ArtRage… You get the picture. Yes, many of these have online tools with similar capabilities, but many of the online versions require kids to be at least 13 and have parent permission to register, and they don’t have as many features as the software versions. Swapping out Chromebooks for our tablets right now would be some huge cheese moving, teacher training, and might limit what our kids can do in the classroom and at home. If we never had a laptop program (perish the thought), this would be a great tool to implement. Tons of potential if done well, and I know many schools are.
Where can I see a fit? Right now I’m thinking these may be a good fit for our Lower School. We currently have small stations of convertible netbooks in the classrooms that need replacement next year. Most, if not all, of the use is web-based interactives and subscriptions. Tools like Wixie, Glogster, Edublogs, BrainPop, SumDog – totally made for Chomebooks. Add in Google Docs and a management tool like Hapara, plus access to iPads for multimedia projects and content apps, and kids have the tools they need for differentiated learning.
Any thoughts on Chromebooks for elementary classrooms? It sounds like one heck of a machine for $249!