Saturday, April 4, 2015

Why the challenge?

Chrome OS is becoming more and more popular. In fact, the past few weeks have seen a ton of new Chrome OS devices. From a pair of new $150 Chromebooks, a Chromebook that rotates 360 degrees to a tablet, and even a Chrome OS stick called a Chromebit. Just plug it into an HDMI port and you have Chrome OS. And of course let's not forget the Chromeboxes, which are Chrome OS' version of a desktop and the Chromebase which is their all-in-one machine.

The best part of Chrome OS is the cost. With Chromebooks available for as little as $150, Chromeboxes for around $200, Chromebases for around $300, and the new Chromebit, rumored to be $99, you can understand the excitement. Usually there is a sacrifice for cheaper products, but with Chrome OS, there really isn't. Most run with an Intel Celeron chip and 2 GB of Ram. Hardly enough for a Windows or a Mac machine, but Chrome OS doesn't need much to run smoothly.

So I was browsing through some Chromebooks and saw this Acer model. I thought to myself "that would be a great machine to have at work, instead of my current laptop". I posted it on twitter about is possibly replacing a laptop and an old colleague replied that it is also a lot cheaper. And that is when I decided to do this challenge.

For the rest of the school year, about 6-7 weeks, I am ditching my laptop and going to use a Chromebook in its place. I don't use many Windows programs. Our laptops are about 4 years old and slowing down. I find myself using a Chromebook most of the time already because it is so much faster to use, but for this I will take out my laptop and lock it up.

Imagine the cost savings if a school went with Chromebooks instead of laptops. You could probably get 2 Chromebooks for every laptop you bought. If you want to use a desktop all the time (GLC or Administrator), get a Chromebox. Would there be a learning curve? Yes, but that curve is so little now. Besides, will that curve be any different than teaching teachers about Windows 8.1 or Windows 10?

Teachers are always adapting. New schedules, special bell schedules for state testing, new standards, or whatever new comes up. Teachers adapt. But more than anything, when it comes to technology, they want something fast and reliable. Imagine no more "I lost everything on my laptop" or "I have a loner laptop, but it doesn't have my programs on it" or "this thing is sooo slow today". With Chrome OS if something happens to you device, your loner device would have everything your normal device has. That is the beauty of Chrome OS. Once you log into a Chrome OS device, within seconds everything is personalized to the way you set it up.  Imagine not having to worry about your computer working or waiting for it to work. Think of the time saved that you could now focus in on student instruction and lessons.

I will post updates on this challenge and let you know what I could and couldn't do.  Am I advocating that our school get Chromebooks instead of laptops when the time comes to replace them? Absolutely not. That isn't my decision to make. I am doing this for myself and for anyone else who considers doing it.

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