There has been a historic struggle involved with getting technology into the classroom. From the cost of computers and software to the opposition these tools face from people who do not understand them, it has not been an easy road. But as advanced tech becomes more readily available, the discrepancies between schools are starting to fade. Thanks to machines like the Chromebook, students are becoming more connected and enabled than ever.
Google's Chromebook – a cloud-based netbook available from many manufacturers at a fraction of the cost associated with a traditional laptop – is fast becoming a popular tool for all sorts of people and professions. But a significant portion of the recent increase in Chromebook sales can be directly associated to the push to get them into schools. Because they are more affordable and easy to customize for learning purposes, Chromebooks are a great way to equalize the ratio of students to computers that is hindering the advancement of education.
Millions of Chromebooks expected to move over next few years
Chromebooks are growing into a popular alternative to both tablets and laptops. Because of their portability and streamlined functionality, Chromebooks have been warmly embraced by computer users of all sorts, not to mention administrators in the world of education.
Chromebook sales are at an all-time high – one that is not expected to decline anytime soon. In 2014, 5.2 million units are expected to sell across various fields and professions. That number is expected to triple by 2017 and is fueled strongly in part by their inherent strength as learning tools in the United States.
"Demand for Chromebooks is mainly driven by the education sector in the U.S.," stated Gartner Research. "Gartner estimates that the education sector accounted for nearly 85 percent of Chromebook sales in 2013. In addition, of the 2.9 million Chromebooks sold during 2013, 82 percent were sold in North America, making it the major market for Chromebooks globally."
Google invested in education
Part of what makes Chromebooks so affordable is that they get most of their power from the cloud, as well as apps from Google Play. A major problem with apps, however, is that not all of them are safe to use and can secretly carry malware. In an effort to curb this trend and make Chromebooks increasingly viable for education, Google Play for Education was launched. The store, which only provides free apps that have been approved by teachers, is touted as one of the major perks to having Chromebooks in schools.
"[Chromebooks] encourage more collaboration and sharing of content," Gartner stated. "As more users work collaboratively in the cloud, collaborative working practices are likely to become more common which may further increase the appeal of Chromebooks and similar devices."
Putting funds to good use
While student computers are certainly a major part of the educational technology equation, they are not the stopping point. There are other resources that will need to be acquired, like classroom control software. Chromebooks can helpful in obtaining tools like this thanks to their low costs, which allow funds to be redirected towards advanced monitoring and cybersecurity programs – just like the kind available from Faronics.
One piece of software that should be a part of any educational security strategy is Faronics Deep Freeze. This program works off of the idea that many computer problems can be rectified with a reboot. A complete reboot would normally wipe out pre-established system settings, but Deep Freeze allows them to be preserved. Investing in Chromebooks can allow schools enough money to make sure their networks are outfitted with tools like Deep Freeze that will keep them safe.