Chromebooks and Chrome OS have taken the education market by storm over the last 18 months. They are particularly attractive due to their low cost and simple browser-based cloud applications which make managing Chromebooks easier than Windows or MAC for school IT departments. We’re pleased to confirm that TouchIT Technologies Interactive Flat Panels support Google Chrome.
Chromebooks are rapidly becoming the hardware of choice for schools. More Google Chromebooks are sold in the U.S. than Apple Macs, according to the latest figures from analyst firm IDC released in April this year. If all the students in a class are going to use the Chromebooks, you’ll want to be able to collaborate together and the LED will still remain the focal point of this.
There are a couple of things to remember when thinking about Chrome OS and Chromebooks in the classroom. First, while Google announced earlier this year that Chromebooks will have access to the Google Play Store and be able to run Android Apps, this is not the case for all Chromebooks and it is not available for older models.
There are only specific models -which tend to be near the higher end of the pricing scale – that can actually access the Play Store and the Android Apps. So, if you are planning to deploy Chromebooks in your school or district, and downloading Angry Birds for Android was high on your priority list, check the model with Google to see if they are compatible first.
Chrome itself is designed for Cloud Computing. It is not designed to have lots of applications installed on the Chromebooks for the students to use. Therefore, when you are considering Chromebooks, you really need to compare your software strategy needs against what will run on them. Chromebooks by nature do tend to be very underpowered with just enough juice to run a browser and navigate the web, so these are not a direct replacement for MAC and PC machines.
That said, you can get software applications that are designed to run in a browser, such as the Oktopus software that TouchIT Technologies supplies with its LEDs. Oktopus can facilitate connections, so that a student can see what is happening on the LED screen on their Chromebook too. Students can answer questions that are created on the LED with the education tools and then pushed out to the Chromebooks. Students can also interact directly with the LED in “collaboration mode” allowing them to annotate from their Chromebook on the LED and with other students in the class.
Chromebooks are no doubt a great tool and the access to information, resources, and the web that they provide to students at a low cost makes them very attractive to schools. Because the units are underpowered, double check with any hardware manufacturer that their hardware is supported on Chrome, as not everything is. It’s also worth checking that any software you plan to use is supported on the Chromebooks too.