The Classroom Chromebooks Have Arrived!
At the end of 2012, I received an email from DonorsChoose.org stating that Google had partnered with them to offer Samsung’s Google Chromebooks at a drastically reduced price of $99 each (regularly $249). Stunned by this announcement and the price, I worked up a DonorsChoose project for 5 of the Chromebooks and submitted it. It would be a long shot, but worth the effort. Unbelievably, the project was funded within 24 hours of being approved by the donation site. I couldn’t believe it. Talk about striking when the iron was hot.
Fast forward to after school today, and the box of 5 Google Chromebooks arrived. My only disappointment? That I found the box after my students had all left for the weekend already. They are so extremely excited to use these laptops, and I can’t wait to get them started on some projects.
Some things that people should be aware of before diving into the Chromebook pool. These laptops do not function like other traditional laptops. There is no hard drive in the sense that we are used to. Chromebooks take advantage of the growing trend toward Cloud storage. Meaning all of your files, data, music, presentations, etc. are stored in a hard drive out in the world. This is great if you have been using Google Apps for Education regularly. If you are, you’re already accustomed to having access to your files from any computer. Since our district has Google accounts set up for all students this should work beautifully.
The affordable nature of these devices and the amount of “school focused” work you can do with it make them an attractive alternative to more expensive tablets. Within seconds of opening the screen, the laptop boots and you’re at the login screen. Once logged into your Google Apps account, you can browse the web, work with your Drive files, edit photos, and much more I have yet to experiment with.
All of this makes it worth the money, and I have yet to install any Apps from the Google play store.
Google played a smart move with the price point of the new Chromebooks, and I am looking forward to getting a few more for the class to finish my class set of devices (only 9 more to go to reach my goal I set 2 years ago.) Check back often as I will be reporting on the good and the bad of the Chromebook classroom deployment unfolds.