When you go to a coffee shop or café to sit down and do work, you will undoubtedly see a few people pecking away at their laptops. A quick glance around the room will reveal a variety of different brands and types of computers. Hipsters and millennials seem to have a preference for the MacBook. While business types still gravitate to the Windows-based PCs. You will rarely see a Chromebook as they don’t seem to have a large market share of the do-work-at-a-café community.
But, there is one place where the Chromebook reigns supreme – schools.
Over the last two years, Chromebooks have accounted for over half of the total shipments of for mobile computing. More than Windows, Mac, Linux, and IOS products combined. For people who don’t work at a K-12 school, it is hard to understand how such a quirky machine could achieve dominance over such a lucrative market. Those who work in a school know that it’s precisely those quirks that make the Chromebook more useful for schools.
1. Any student can log in to any Chromebook
By far the biggest advantage of Chromebooks in the classroom is that any student can use any device. Once a Google account is made for a student, all of their work and profile settings will follow them around no matter what Chromebook they use. Meaning, teachers don’t have to label devices and students don’t have to carry them from class to class. Teachers can literally pull any Chromebook out of their COW (computer cart on wheels) and hand it to a student, and they can log-on and get to work.
2. The hardware is tailor-made for schools
Students, especially the younger ones, are not always super careful with technology. They often drop things by accident or even break things on purpose during tantrums. Most computers are not designed to stand up to that kind of abuse, instead opting to be aesthetically pleasing to attract your eye in Best Buy. The Chromebook won’t win any beauty contests, but over the years it has become durable enough to withstand even the most volatile 2nd grader.
3. Teachers and administrators have all the control
Technically, this is true of Windows and IOS devices too, but there are just so many backdoors that a tech-savvy student can have their way if they wanted it bad enough. This is not the case with Chromebooks. They simply don’t allow you to do as much. And what they do allow you to do, can be limited by the administrators of the Chromebook. Blocking websites on Chromebooks don’t require the school to go through their IT department; you can do it right from the admin console. Want to block YouTube? Have at it. Noticed that a student found a proxy site for YouTube, block that too. Want to allow students access to only one site or program? You can do that as well.
4. Seamless transition to the online educational ecosystem
One of the biggest hassles that come along with using technology in schools, is usernames and passwords. The nature of Chrome OS cuts down on the number of usernames and passwords that students need to remember. It is possible through programs like Clever to have a student login on to their Chromebook and have immediate access to a variety of educational websites connected to their accounts.
There are obvious downsides to Chromebooks too. Students probably won’t use them outside or after school. They need to be connected to wi-fi to be useful. Additionally, Chromebooks don’t have anywhere near the available apps that other devices do. But some of those things are the very aspects that make them useful in schools. If your school is currently struggling with the utilization of technology in the classroom, give the Chromebook a look.