Google's Chromebooks Making Big School Push

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Google announce that hundreds of schools in 41 states across the United States are using its Chromebooks in one or more classrooms. In addition, three school districts, in Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina, are rolling out "one-to-one" programs that will hand laptops to each student.

Apple made headlines last week with its push into the textbook market, but it's not the only Silicon Valley giant making greater inroads into education.

Google announce that hundreds of schools in 41 states across the United States are using its Chromebooks in one or more classrooms. In addition, three school districts, in Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina, are rolling out "one-to-one" programs that will hand laptops to each student.

The deals add up to nearly 27,000 machines, which are leased for $20 per month or sold for $449, with service and warranties.

The laptops, which include various models built by Acer and Samsung, are designed to work almost entirely online. They run a lightweight operating system based on the company's Chrome Internet browser and rely on online-based applications like Google's word-processing and spreadsheet tools.

That means the computers boot up in a flash, need little memory and don't require software installations or upgrades. The latter point has formed the core of the Mountain View search company's pitch to schools.

"Schools can't afford to turn their teachers into an IT help desk and they can't afford to scale up IT to manage these new devices," said Rajen Sheth, who leads the Chromebook for education group at Google. Chromebooks are "intuitive, easy to use and easy to manage."

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