Chromebook Soars As Power Player In Education Technology

The Chromebook, a Google device, has recently become one of the top educational tools in the country. Other companies such as Microsoft are trying to keep up with their own version in the form of an ASUS touchscreen laptop.

Chromebooks have been a tremendous success for Google, writes Daniel Kline for The Motley Fool. By November 2013, Google’s Chromebooks had accounted for 21% of all notebook sales, which is a spike from a negligible share in the previous year. Also in November 2013 it accounted for 8% of all computer and tablet sales, which is a hike from 0.1% in 2012.

Microsoft is trying to fight back with its new touch screen laptop, the ASUS X200-MA. Consumers could buy this laptop for $199 for one day only. It sold out in the early morning on the day of the sale. It now sells for $279 at Best Buy.

The inexpensive Chromebook accounts for about one-fifth of all mobile devices sent into the nation’s schools in the third quarter of 2013, capturing much of the education market. This amount rose to one in four in the fourth quarter, according to Futuresource Consulting. Kline quotes on official as saying:

“Chromebooks present a number of benefits to the education market, which go further than just offering cheaper hardware,” said Phil Maddocks, market analyst at Futuresource. “While savings can be made on the cost of the hardware alone, the majority of the cost savings originate from within infrastructure and device management. As Chromebooks are cloud-based devices, the security, device management, and even core content creation apps such as Google Docs are run in the cloud, which produces cost reduction on both managing and setting up the devices, as well as some software licensing costs.”

Because Chromebooks do less than traditional laptops, they are the most inexpensive product available to public schools for a device that gives a laptop-like presentation, says Kline. Chromebook’s market share was most likely gained on the low cost of the device. The fact remains that quite a few school districts have signed deals to Chromebooks in recent years.

One such school district is Chesterfield County Schools in Virginia, reports John Ramsey for the Richmond Times Dispatch. According to school administrators, Dell will provide the Chromebook laptops for middle school students in a program that starts in the fall of 2014 and and will grow to include high schools in the fall of 2015.

The Chromebooks will be added to every class in ways that officials say will change education and bring learning into the more computerized, technological age. This will make the classroom much more like a real life work environment that is already present in many professions which relies on computers and technology.

Another example is the Southington School District in Connecticut, which has about 100 Chromebooks, says Farrah Duffany for the Record Journal.  The freshman class at Kennedy Middle School will be given Chromebooks that were bought with a recent state grant. The Southington school district permits pupils to bring their own technology to school. However, while some of the devices brought by students are good for school use, other subjects require school-issued computers, says board member Terry Lombardi.