Google has announced that businesses, governments and schools in seven countries (USA, UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands) will be able to take advantage of Google Laptops starting at $20 per month. In this case, we will focus on Schools and show you both, positive and negative, aspects of this new service brought by Google.
- Web-based central Management Console
- Machines receive automatic OS updates directly from Google
- No additional software required (i.e. anti-virus, back-up)
- Centrally push group policies, web apps and extensions
- 24/7 phone and email support for critical issues
- Self-service online support
- New devices every 3 years
- Support for Adobe Flash
- Integration with Google Apps
Let’s start with the positive features
Fast boot time: Taking into account that Chromebooks boot up in less than 10 seconds, we can be sure that this point is very important for most of the teachers who say that, nowadays, they are loosing around six minutes of class time booting up and logging in, or at least a few minutes logging off and back on for another user.
Cloud computing: Chromebooks are built on web-based programs and cloud based computing. Moving to the cloud, students will be able to learn, communicate and collaborate no matter where they are (in school, at home, at the library, etc) and no matter what device they use (school computers, personal devices, desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones, Windows systems, Mac systems, other systems) with no concern about versions, compatibility, and functionality.
Easy to assign: Teachers don’t have the necessity to assign a specific Chrome Laptop for every student. They can distribute the Chromebooks randomly without taking in account the number of desktop where the pupils are sitting down. For example; during exams, teachers can easily change students places to avoid them copying each other without worrying about user profiles.
Management Console: With Google’s web-based Management Console schools will be able to make a change in one place and have that change automatically roll out to all registered Chromebooks. This could include configuring printers, setting homepages, pre-installing apps and extensions, and saving time.
Now we’ll take a look to the Negative Features about Chromebooks for Schools.
Google’s Chromebook subscription plan requires a commitment for three years. If you renew your contract, Google will send you new Chrome Laptops. However, if you are not able to renew, you are allowed to keep your old Chromebooks but you lose the ability to centrally manage them with the Management Console, and the Google Laptops will no longer receive updates. In this sense it is not like you are really buying the Chromebooks with the ability to use them for as long as they last.
Buying the Chromebooks
You need to bear in mind that you are going to pay at least $720 per computer during the 3 years, so if you are thinking in buying Chromebooks instead of renting them to save some money, you will have to forget about the Management Console because this is not included when you buy a Chrome Laptop.