Well, at the moment, nothing. As Larry Dignan pointed out in his post this morning, "...the Chrome OS announcement is largely a preannouncement. There won’t be anything to see for a year." That being said, an interesting response to my post, "Windows 7 is the same as Ubuntu," came across Twitter from @Two_Ring this morning:
Pretty sad he is 17 and he only uses the web browser? Wow...
He was, of course, referring to my kid, who is increasingly OS-agnostic since the browser masks the underlying operating system and he, like me, basically lives in a browser window (or 3). My response?
Really? I'm 33 and use a browser and Eclipse pretty exclusively. For him, it's iMovie on my Mac and Chrome on his machine
Sure, there are some desktop applications that we use heavily; living in the cloud works a lot better for the average teenager than it does for the average professional. As I said, I use Eclipse (actually I've switched to Aptana Studio, but it's based on Eclipse) a lot. He steals my Mac to use iMovie. I haven't completely broken the Office 2007 habit either for serious documentation.
Web development, movie production, and desktop publishing are not, however, the primary uses of netbooks, nor do they tend to be the primary tasks of the average student, whether in primary, secondary, or post-secondary education. Students need to get online (fast), take notes, write essays, blog, manage their social networks, email, etc. Our 1:1 implementation are largely focused on having students be able to write, communicate, collaborate, share and research anytime, anywhere. Guess what? A netbook that boots within seconds into a browser with immediate access to Google Apps would fill the bill quite handily.
Sure, we have a ways to go. I'm not holding off buying netbooks and I'm certainly not abandoning the Classmate, with its broad ecosystem of hardware and desktop software that lends itself to K-8 education. However, for our older students, Chrome and the Google software stack that Larry describes will be the killer education apps on netbooks for students in high school and college.