Friday, September 23, 2011

Chromebook, the new tool for the shed...

I spent my day at Google's New York office, in the venerable Commerce Building of the Port Authority of New York building (which Google recently purchased for themselves for the paltry sum of $1.9 billion, yes, with a b).

I was there for the final event in a series of Chromebook Classroom roadshow presentations. We got to spend the day using a Samsung Chromebook and getting insight, tips & tricks, and the overall picture of the various ways we could use a Chromebook in education.

Those who know me know I'm a Apple guy to my core (yes, pun 'tended) so I went with skepticism on the hardware front but an affinity for Google products in general. After about 30 minutes of using the book and hearing the pricing pitch I tweeted this:

I meant it then and I mean it more even now having had time to reflect on the day.

I love Apple products and I think the Mac (iMac & MacBook lines) and the OSX server are invaluable for my lab and my school. Windows never works as well, is administered as seamlessly, nor repaired as easily. Windows has always caused more problems than it has solved for me.

We have all of our teachers on iPads for conferring and assessing. I think the iPads are great for that. 30 iPads for students? I'm iffy on the idea. iPads are great, I love mine, but they are very much individual devices and tough to manage on a large scale.

I love iMacs and MacBooks, but while they may last upwards of 7 years they are, admittedly, expensive at roughly $1,000 each, at entry level.

My big take away from today was this:
I want the technology in my building to be 3-fold:

  1. Full Mac lab for media and large projects - nothing can replace a 20+ inch screen for some projects (as well as heavy bandwidth undertakings as they can be wired via ethernet for a more reliable connection than wifi)
  2. iPads for teachers - the mobility and PDF annotating abilities (via apps like GoodReader) make the iPad form-factor ideal for running records, conferring with students, paperless memos on the fly and so on
  3. Chromebooks for students for class writing, producing, research, collaboration, etc

We are a Google Apps school so students have GMail addresses. They can work in the Chrome browser on the Macs, and easily switch to the Chromebooks to continue later on. Teachers can use all three  platforms for access, production, and communication.

I never thought I'd want a non-Mac machine but I think Chromebooks, coupled with those two other devices, would make for one sweet technology setting.

My edtech tool shed has two of the most valuable tools on the market, Macs & iPads. Once I add Chromebook that three tool shed will afford all students and staff unprecedented access to learning.

I've been faithful to Apple for years, but I think I might have found a mistress in Chromebooks...

1 comment:

  1. Hey thanks for sharing this, Chris. I was reading up on Chromebooks today. I'm not 100% sure I can get by on just a CB, because of my marriage/indenturedness to Adobe products and some of the video editing software I have. But I'm very bullish on CB in general - I think there might be one in my future...