There has long been an issue regarding how best to get technology into the hands of students. Computers tend to have a habit of being too expensive to afford in large quantities or too out of date to function in the ways that they are needed to. But in light of this, Google has made large pushes towards getting their take on the netbook – the Chromebook – into as many schools as possible.
This may seem like an attempt at positive publicity, but the Chromebook's premise – a cloud-based computer designed with only the bare-essential hardware – is proving to make it a much more viable educational tool than more traditional models. This is so much the case that Microsoft is beginning to experience concern regarding the supremacy of the PC in classrooms. According to recent sales figures, they have good reason to.
"During its earnings call this week, Google announced that it – and its partners – sold a million Chromebooks to schools in the last quarter," wrote TechCrunch contributor Frederic Lardinois. "Overall PC sales worldwide were about 76 million in the last quarter, according to Gartner's latest numbers, so a million Chromebook sales just to the education market is a pretty good number."
Chromebooks a viable option for students
Chromebooks are an interesting breed. Even though they are made by a number of different manufacturers, Chromebooks get their name from the Google-based operating system that they all have in common. The OS is enabled by the cloud, which means that while work can be conducted offline, a good deal of storage and processing is handled by remote cloud servers.
This is coupled with Google Play For Education, a free app store curated by teachers. This not only allows educators to choose software that is going to be best suited for their specific needs, but removes the complications that can be associated with the cost of programs – something that every school probably views as a positive aspect to the Chromebook.
Integration not as difficult as perceived
One of the biggest things that may be holding the Chromebook back is how differently it approaches computing when compared to other machines. It might seem like common sense to assume that Chromebooks cannot be successfully integrated into standard Mac or PC labs. The opposite, however, is the truth: Chromebooks can be leveraged in a variety of environments, regardless of how the computer lab in question was designed. This is thanks mainly to virtual desktops that can be hosted on Mac or PC and accessed remotely through Chromebooks.
Affordability saves money for other needs
There are many components that go into a proper educational tech initiative. Besides computers and learning software, there needs to be an effective approach taken to cybersecurity issues. Schools can be tantalizing targets for digital criminals, as they tend to contain sensitive material that can be exploited by malicious actors.
Similarly, there will also have to be provisions made for classroom control software. While the limitless nature of the Internet can be a massive boost for the abilities of teachers, it also presents opportunities for students to get off-task. This is why investment in computer monitoring tools must be made. It is not enough to simply have modern assets if they are not being used properly, but thanks to the solutions created by Faronics like Anti-Executable and Insight, educators can ensure that they have optimal attention from their pupils and make certain that students are getting the most out of their education.
In short, those learning facilities that have yet to improve their technological assets may want to explore how Chromebooks – and Faronics – can help.