Thursday, 8 May 2014

Chromebooks becoming a real option

It seems that many schools are opting for Chromebooks.
We have been looking at this aspect from both educational and financial viewpoints. The financial one seems obvious - Chromebooks are extremely good value for money, almost tablet costs for much better than notebook operation.
The functionality of Chromebooks has been the question in terms of their use in education. Given that much of what we do educationally is browser based, the issue of a Chromebook being "just" a browser is not so important. But Chromebooks have a filing system and can work with downloaded documents - hence work off-line from Google Drive or from the file system. So what is the problem?
  • There is a legacy problem from equipment that works on Windows machines, including some laboratory and simulation software, video/audio editing programmes and the like. 
  • Heavy spreadsheet work still seems to work better on Excel and despite the improvements, PowerPoint materials always have to be carefully reviewed when uploaded to Google Presentations. 
  • We still have Windows 7 desktops as the drivers for digital projectors in classrooms and need to shift mentally and practically to Google Cast or other devices.
  • Our broadband connection - we are topping our dedicated 30 Megabits almost all of the time; how would we fare with the requirement to connect to the cloud?
However, we are reviewing the Chromebooks option very seriously at the moment.
The latest announcements from Google about tracking Chromebooks in case they are stolen seems to tie up that advantage that i-Pads had. Here is a video describing the Guardian system:

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