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Netbook Use in Schools – K-12 – Google is taking a lead

Apple has had a firm hold in the academic market for a long time – when Apple came out with the iPad line, things took off even more.  Educators were loving the portability of the devices and app makers were building all kinds of great educational apps.

Apple vs Google – Academic Market “Wars”

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In 2012, Interactive Educational Systems Design reported “More than 80 percent of district technology officials said districts use or plan to use iPads over the next year or two, according to the results released by Interactive Educational Systems Design, Inc.”. – source edweek.org

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They also noted, in the same article that “Google Chromebooks came in a distant second, with 31 percent of district officials identifying that tool as the mobile technology they have in place or are planning to adopt. Twenty-seven percent said they are using or will use “mixed technology” supplied by students, as part of bring-your-own-device approaches. Android Tablets were next in line, the choice of 17 percent of respondents.” – source edweek.org

Netbook Use in Schools – Google Use Up

Fast forward to 2015 – the New York Times said “the Chromebook category is fast gaining traction in the United States” and even though Apple shipped over 4 million devices to schools, Chrome was making a run with a huge increase where “3.9 million Chromebooks were shipped in the education sector, an increase in unit sales of more than 310 percent compared with the previous year, IDC said. By contrast, iPad unit sales for education fell last year to 2.7 million devices, compared to 2.9 million in 2013, according to IDC data.”

It does appear apple is feeling some pressure from the netbook market – Bloomberg mentioned “Apple Acquires Education-Tech Startup LearnSprout” – that article mentioned “Apple Inc. said it acquired education-technology startup LearnSprout, which creates software for schools and teachers to track students’ performance.”

And USA Today mentioned “Apple is no longer the undisputed head of the K-12 class. – For the first time, Chromebook sales surpassed 51% in the K-12 market nationwide in the third quarter…The surge reflects a fundamental shift in how American schools are buying tech in bulk and assessing students online, placing an emphasis on low-cost, easy-to-manage machines.”

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In 2015, edweek.org said by the time 2016 hits “mobile devices will be available for 1-to-1 computing for half of the U.S. K-12 student and teacher population”.  (See chart footer to note data represents Notebooks, Netbooks, Chromebooks and Tablets.)

Mobile devices are sometimes a little confusing – these are considered any notebook, netbook, chromebook, tablet or phone.  This gets a little grey – because some of the numbers reflect chrome and apple’s share of markets.  These informational sources revolve around this concept.

Education World posted in January 2016 “Google’s Chromebook Tops Apple in the Education Market” and said “For schools with tight budgets the Chromebooks have been viable options when it comes to bringing blended learning to areas that without less expensive options, may not have had the ability to do so. For schools who want to cut cost and expand their network Chromebooks also prove to be a pretty easy option again due to how low the prices are.”

Also from education world’s post – “It’s a tidal wave: Chrome is the clear U.S. market leader now,” says Mike Fisher, associate director of education technology at Futuresource, according to the report.

Why is Google Pulling Ahead?

And why does Google seem to be “winning”?  One big reason is the package.  Apple has a fantastic product in the iPad – and the apps which live on the Apple App Store are very good, most better than what you can get on the Chromebook.

But its the “other stuff” which makes it better.  As Apple’s iPad is better suited for elementary education – Google’s infrastructure makes the middle and high school needs a better match.

The San Jose Mercury News mentions in a January of 2016 “Students have their own Google accounts. They work on math problems on chromebooks, file their homework in Google Drive and keep up with their classes through Google Groups.”

This is a great step – and may be why netbooks have taken a firm hold in these types of markets.

Best Chromebook 2016 – 15 Google Chromebooks

Computers are smaller and cheaper than ever – but they are still very powerful.  A few years back Google built a brand new operating system, they call it ChromeOS.  It’s perfect for most people’s computing needs and it makes the systems that run it very inexpensive.  Most go by the name Chromebook or called Google Chromebook.  (Most links will be to amazon for more product information.)

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If you need a low cost computer – and most of what you do is browser the internet, check Facebook, read email and stream video – you are looking in the right place.  Here are 16 of the best Chromebooks you’ll find today.

Chromebooks come in all sizes – we will show you laptops, desktops and even small Chromestick which will connect to any TV via HDMI port.

Whatever kind of computer you need to do whatever you need to do.

Top Chromebook Choices & Chromebook Reviews:

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Which Chromebook Should I buy?

What is a Chromebook?

All computer have an operating system – it is the root software on a computer which lets it run.  The base system essentially.  The most popular operating systems include Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s Mac OS and Linux. With the changes in the computer world, people moving their life to the cloud, an interesting offering from Google has come about called Chrome OS and is installed on laptops called Chromebooks

What is unique to the Chrome OS?

Unlike its counterparts from Microsoft, Apple and Linux, chromebook stores most everything on the cloud using the internet.  All documents and files are securely stored and retrieved from that “off site” storage.  All applications also run from the browser.

What can I use the Chromebook for?

When you think about it, the most common things the typical computer user does are – browsing the web, YouTube videos, editing a document or spreadsheet all while listening to music on Spotify or Pandora and then Facebook and casual gaming.  These tasks don’t require powerful hardware.

This is what Google has done with its Chromebooks. Google realized that the Web store, with its powerful online applications that include everything from advanced photo editing apps and 3D games to amazing office apps, is enough for the vast majority of users who simply do not need the extra bells and whistles. So, with a custom Linux based OS and Google Chrome itself, Google set out to fill a niche that practically includes every computer user in the world.

How does Chromebook work?

When switching to a Chromebook, you really only need to have access to the internet.  Applications like Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop are no longer installed – but ran from the browser via the internet.  Switching can be a little hard at first – but will be advantageous in the future as all your data and files will be available to you from most any computer or your phone.  As soon as you change it on your Chromebook – it is updated (actually the same file) is available on your smart phone or tablet.  In fact – applications like Google Docs allow many people to be working on the same file at the exact same time.  Its kind of a cool mindset shift.

Can I run Chrome OS on my current PC?

No, the Chrome operating system does not run on PCs, Macs or Linux machines.  You do have to purchase a Chromebook if you want to run Chrome OS.

What else will I need to run Chrome OS?

Only internet access and a Google account.  All applications run in the browser, some do allow you to run while offline – check on the installation page to find out which ones.

How do I use the Chromebook?

The interface is very easy to use with a start “like” button at the bottom left corner. Clicking allows you to see your applications and pin them to toolbar, just like the Windows or a Mac.  The simplicity of the system makes it a very sleek and speedy experience.  On smaller Chromebooks you may notice a smaller keyboard – this is only to keep the size down, special functions may require a alt, ctrl or function key to execute.  But the experience is also streamlined to require less keys to operate the system…some of the newer Chromebooks also include a touch screen.

Where do I get Programs for the Chrome OS?

For apps and programs – use the Google Play Store.  Just like the play store you may have used with your android device, all applications are found in the chrome store. The store has many applications and games – it is different from Windows and Mac…but resembles some characteristics of Linux.

Switching to Google’s Chromebooks are not a big hassle and can really streamline the number of devices you start to carry on a day-to-day basis.