Score one for El Goog, who has managed to ink a deal with three states to bring the company’s cloud-based computers to the classroom. Soon, students in Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina will be getting brand new laptops that pretty much only run a web browser.
Google believes that Chromebooks could be a game changer in education. Because of their design, it is much harder to infect a Chromebook with a virus than it is a normal Mac or Windows PC. And the account-based system insures that it doesn’t matter what laptop the students use, they will always have their information. Which is something that the messy solutions schools currently use can’t boast.
South Carolina’s District Two is by far the most avid consumer of Chromebooks, gobbling up 19,000 of the 27,000 laptop deal. It is part of a three-year program to enrich the curriculum with technology.
Google’s Chrome OS hasn’t seen the level of success the company was hoping for, but its new platform hasn’t proven to be a complete disaster. Having owned a Chromebook (in my case, the CR-48 laptops that Google sent out for free to testers), I can say that I found the platform to be interesting, but before its time. Cloud computing is here to stay, but I don’t see a fully cloud based operating system being viable for several years yet. But the platform is perfect for situations where you don’t trust the users fully. Schools and many businesses are perfect examples of this.
Google isn’t giving any hard numbers, but the company claims that “hundreds” of schools, across 41 states, are using Chromebooks. Depending on the orders per school, that could be good or bad.