Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

Summary: Google is going back to school via new Chromebooks as they make their way into select schools in time for the new year.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Mobility, Google
46

Google has proven its commitment to promoting education at every grade level, whether it be hosting an international science fair or National Geographic's geography bee.

Here's another way that Google is getting more involved in schools: Chromebooks.

Google boasts on its official enterprise blog the following reasons as to why Chromebooks are preferable to other computers in the classroom:

  • Decrease wait times with a faster boot-up time (as quick as eight seconds)
  • Protect against viruses with enhanced security
  • Regular software updates from Google, lowering maintenance and other software upgrade costs

So far, at least a handful of schools are showing interest in these features and functions. Here's a snapshot of the three schools that Google has highlighted and how they will utilize Chromebooks for their education plans:

  • Merton Community School District, Merton, Wis. (6th grade): 110 sixth graders will each receive a Chromebook to keep and use until they finish 8th grade. The goal is to "increase critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity among students." Educators also want to steer students away from using cell phones for research purposes because of network security reasons.
  • Grace Lutheran School, Oshkosh, Wis. (7th & 8th grades): 17 Chromebooks will be shared among 5th through 8th grade students. Chromebooks were seen as the economical choice, and students can use them to do peer reviews in real-time on Google Docs. Google Maps and Earth can be used for real-world math problems.
  • The Fessenden School, West Newton, Mass. (K-9): The school has bought "two carts full" of Chromebooks that teachers can reserve using Google Calendar for their lessons. Students can also students can rent a Chromebook from the school library, and the eventual goal is to entrust all students in 5th through 9th grades with their own Chromebooks.

For educators and businesses interested in Chromebooks, visit Google's Chrome Sales page.

In another effort to promote Chromebooks, Google partnered with Virgin America once again. Those laptops are available for rent on select flights across the country.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

46 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Heh

    TOO FUNNY, basically no one is really buying them so we have to give them away. Hey Google, I'll take one! but not for 500! iPad is much better at that price....
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

      @Hasam1991

      I think you are confusing this product with Windows Phone 7.

      Chromebooks are selling well on Amazon since they have been consistently in the best sellers list, despite Google not promoting it very much to the general public and despite not being available from retail outlets where customers can try them out.

      Windows Phone 7 on the other hand has been promoted with a 1/2 billion ad campaign, has been stocked heavily in retail outlets and, Microsoft has paid to promote good reviews. Basically customers don't want it and aren't buying.
      Mah
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @Mah <br><br>I call BS. Chromebooks aren't exactly flying off the shelf either. There's very little market for them, and even the reviewers on Amazon are saying as such.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @Cylon Centurion
        Google are not announcing sales figures yet because Chromebooks are targeting early adopters, and in particular schools and businesses only at this stage. The reason for this is that there were a lot of things still to be added to Chromebooks to make them suitable for general release. Some of these were added in the most recent update, but many things remain.

        Basically Google isn't Microsoft and Chromebooks aren't Windows Phone 7. Google does things differently from Microsoft. They release early and update frequently, and end up with something which is very solid. If you look at Google Docs, they kept that on beta long after others would have declared it a stable release. Chromebooks seem to be followeing that release strategy - first Cr48, then the initial low key Chromebook release targeting early adopters who are likely top provide user feedback, then they will step up to more general marketing.
        Mah
    • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

      @Hasam1991 I have both, and they do not serve the same purpose. Right now I can get a lot more done on the iPad, but do love certain things about the Chromebook.

      It's still very early in its lifecycle.
      Carlos Alvarez
  • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

    Decrease wait times with a faster boot-up time (as quick as eight seconds)

    - Windows has that.

    Protect against viruses with enhanced security

    - Again, Windows 7 has the security

    Regular software updates from Google, lowering maintenance and other software upgrade costs

    - Microsoft issues updates once or twice a month, again Windows has that.

    So, why should I pay more for less in the classroom?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

      @Cylon Centurion
      I am not about to get a Chromebook, but I'm pretty sure there are zero Chromebook viruses.
      x I'm tc
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @jdakula you get one more guess

        dvdtoxoom.tk/web-os/google-chrome-os-critical-significant-vulnerabilities/
        Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @jdakula

        Chromebooks have also been hacked already.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @jdakula
        Even if there were no viruses for the Chromebook you better bet your arse that there are plenty coming! ;)
        audidiablo
    • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

      @Cylon Centurion
      You know nothing about Chromebooks dude. Windows has viruses and how many? Chromebooks have none. It's more secure than Windows and yes you don't have to restart your computer each and every time to install updates unlike Windoze
      shellcodes_coder
      • You know nothing about windows

        @shellcodes_coder Havent seen a virus since XP sp2, and reboots for updates are rare too. And when I do have to reboot, Win7 boots quite fast...

        Sorry, but you M$ haters have to update your rhetoric.
        otaddy
      • Bang! -10!

        @shellcodes_coder

        "Windoze"? Sorry, you loose! :D
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @shellcodes_coder
        Windows 7 boots fast lol, that's the biggest joke. Lion and Snow Leopard boots much faster than Windows 7. Just google for Snow Leopard vs Windows 7 reviews where Snow Leopard beats Windows 7 in all the reviews...
        shellcodes_coder
      • chuckle

        @shellcodes_coder
        Who cares.
        In most cases my Win7 laptop is in sleep and comes on in seconds. So what.
        GO back to your lame little world and try to stay on topic.

        As a note, my son's school put in a comp lab using chrome notebooks. They have better control, quick access and dependent on the school server/wifi.
        Looks like less overhead and maintenance for the IT staff.

        Not bad.

        btw: mine is not bad but has been predominately replaced with a tablet. :D
        rhonin
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @shellcodes_coder - security via obscurity. Just like Macs. Nothing is impenetrable, and phishing is often more effective than looking for holes in code to begin with.
        HypnoToad72
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @shellcodes_coder
        You obviously haven't used Windows in many years, probably XP or older. I own a Mac and a number of Windows machines. My primary Windows machine has only been rebooted a few times by Windows Update in several years of 24/7 operation. My Mac reboots every time it updates. Also, I haven't had a single virus or blue screen of death on Windows since the days of Windows Millennium. In contrast, my Mac has actually crashed to "black screen of death" half a dozen times in the past 12 months. Kernel panics are the dirty secret of Mac owners. I've also had a bunch of "infinite twirling beach balls of doom." It's entirely possible that it's because I don't know nearly as much about running OS X as I do Windows. Or more likely it is old equipment drivers for my keyboard, mouse, or midi devices. The point is, any system can be compromised and the user is the weakest link. Windows now does as much or more to protect users from themselves as any OS out there. Maybe you should use a version from this century before commenting.

        One final note. Just because a virus exists, doesn't mean it actually infects anyone. It also doesn't mean it has infected anyone using a version of Windows from this century. Sadly, a lot of folks are still using archeologically ancient versions of Windows out there and then complaining when they click on a bouncing bunny video that takes control of their computer.
        BillDem
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @shellcodes_coder
        Windows has gotten better at restarting, not perfect but better.
        @otaddy
        Lucky you. I've had to remove viruses from quite a few machines running Vista and yes, even W7. It's part of why I'm still running Ubuntu.
        When you see most Linux users ridicule Windows, it's from experience. Thing is, Linux users are the 'once bitten, twice shy' kind of people. We stop our windows using as soon as we possibly can and go back to our own much more stable and free-er world
        tmsbrdrs
      • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

        @whoever reported my message as spam.

        perhaps you could explain what exactly was spam about my replies? Or were you simply acting like an ignorant fool who couldn't make his own argument?
        tmsbrdrs
    • RE: Google jumps into the classroom with Chromebooks

      @Cylon Centurion
      - Windows takes a minute + to boot compared with Chromebooks which do it in 6 seconds now after the latest update.
      - Windows takes about 8s+ to sleep and 8s+ to resume.
      Chromebooks do this instantly.
      - Windows 7 is insecure 100,000 viruses and counting. Worm attacks and spam trojans are frequent in Windows - about 80% of the worlds spam was found to come from infected Windows PCs whose owners were blissfully unaware.
      Unlike Windows Chromebooks themselves are pretty well immune from viruses because they don't allow installation of applications. Like Windows, they are vulnerable to privacy circumvention by malware posing as browser extensions which the user CHOOSES to install. If the user chooses not to install extensions or only to install extensions from reputable sources, then this vulnerability disappears.

      - Chromebooks are zero maintenance devices. All updates to the device happen automatically, and all updates to apps happen in the cloud server. Unlike Windows, or other fat client OSes, hardware updates are not required in Chromebooks because dealing with application bloat is dealt with by the cloud application provider upgrading his server farm rather than by the end user. The only thing that runs on a Chromebook is a browser, which does not change a great deal in size (confirmed if you go on past history of browser download size). This is only possible without breaking applications on a thin client OS like Chrome OS, where no third party applications or drivers are allowed to be installed on the device.

      On Windows on the other hand although a few security updates can be done automatically, you will need to manually: download and update service packs, applications, drivers and driver updates, find missing dlls, install OS options from the install DVD that weren't installed initially, troubleshoot device drivers, defrag the hard drive, and occasionally reinstall the OS from DVD when it becomes corrupted or unstable (note: Chromebooks check for a corrupted OS automatically every time you boot up, and automatically installs a clean OS image from Google HQ if this is detected) etc. etc. and you have to learn how to do this or pay someone else to do it for you. Basically Chromebooks are zero maintenance devices as far as the end user is concerned, while Windows PCs are very maintenance intensive devices and the maintenance burden for the Windows desktop falls on the end user.

      You are probably a computer hobbyist, so you probably don't realise this, but the form of license subscription that most schools and businesses pay for OS software to be kept continuously updated require a (fairly expensive) subscription to be paid to Microsoft, and anti-virus software also require subscriptions for non-personal use.

      - Why should you pay more for less indeed.
      With Chromebooks, you do get more for less - more time to use your computer for work, learning or leisure, for less time spent on configuring, maintaining and updating your PC, and learning how to do this.

      If you want to talk about pure monetary value, then you still get much more for much less with Chromebooks. If you are a cash strapped computer hobbyist who finds it difficult to cough up the initial extra $100 or so for a Chromebook over a Windows 7 netbook, then a Windows 7 netbook may be the right choice for you. As a hobbyist, you will put up with the painfull slowness that comes from trying to cram a fat OS like Windows 7 onto underspecified hardware for the purpose, and put up with the low build quality of the hardware. You may also be willing to put up with the cramped keyboard and low screen resolution, and do the configuration, maintenance and upgrades yourself for free and learn how to do this in your own time. On the other hand, if you are a school or business, you have to pay somebody to do all that. Computer hardware is very cheap, but unfortunately IT labour costs are not, and for the $100 you saved by opting for a Windows 7 netbook, you will have to pay at least ten times that amount per year ($1000) for provisioning, and maintaining a Windows PC. From a practical point of view, the robustness of Chromebooks in terms of being tamperproof is also a huge plus in a typical school. In schools using Windows desktops - particularly without tight centrally managed server based lockdown, typically 20% of the desktops are inoperable at any time, and most of the remainder have been tampered with and are dysfunctional to some degree.

      Chromebooks are a huge plus for schools moneywise, timewise and in terms of productivity. Course management software like Moodle or Blackboard are web based and can be outsourced to cloud located servers. If Windows applications are required for certain courses, then that can be provided on Chromebooks via Citrix Receiver running virtualized on a server for easier management and lockdown. You can also outsource virtual Windows desktops - eg. http://www.nextdesktop.com/cloud-desktop-how-it-works.html.
      Mah