Google's Chromebooks have been around for a few years now, and while they haven't really gained a lot of traction in the consumer market, they are really starting to take off in schools in the United States, as well as the rest of the world. Now that Google has expanded their Play for Education program to include Chromebooks as well as Android tablets, schools are beginning to integrate the inexpensive devices into their curriculum at an ever increasing rate. Chromebooks are perfect for schools that otherwise would not be able to afford more expensive computers, along with the large IT departments usually required to administer alternative systems.
In a recent report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), Google's Chromebooks are now the number one device among tablets and laptops in K-12 schools. Google states that their Apps for Education platform is being used by over 40 million students and teachers worldwide. This is undoubtedly helping Chromebooks along the way to becoming the go-to device for schools. Apps for Education, along with 24/7 tech support from Google, is completely free for schools. The productivity suite, which includes already popular apps such as Docs, Gmail, Calendar, and Drive, also includes Google Classroom which allows students and teachers to collaborate on homework and other assignments in real-time. The inexpensive Chromebooks, which start as low as $249, are perfect for students to take home and continue their education outside of the classroom. Google Play for Education, which was made available for Chromebooks earlier this year, gives teachers the ability to share educational apps with their students, along with educational Youtube channels and videos, as well as access to thousands of free books.
Chromebooks aren't just limited to Google's excellent learning tools, either. Students equipped with the devices have access to virtually unlimited resources via the web, such as Wikipedia, Project Gutenburg, and others. With internet access becoming widespread, we are seeing more and more school systems adopting the devices, both in the United States and abroad. Malaysia, for example, has provided 4G internet access and Chromebooks to all 10,000 of the country's schools. That's approximately 5.5 million students who now have access to the wealth of information and resources available on the internet.
It's very exciting to see new technologies being rolled out by school systems, and it will be interesting to see whether or not the success of the Chromebook in education will carry over into the home consumer market.