Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Have you tried a Chromebook?

The Chromebook sits triumphantly atop a MacBook
In many ways, the Chromebook is a tablet shaped like a laptop. It relies on an internet connection much of its functionality, and it's operating system is built on Google's Chrome web browser. Why would you use one? Well, if you're a heavy user of Google Apps (and we're a Google Apps campus), it's essentially all you need. A Chromebook essentially makes your browser your operating system, and as long as you're okay with the Chrome web browser, you're all set.

You won't be able to install large applications like Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite, even those applications have sensed the wave of the future and begun offering web-based applications. As the internet connection speeds improve, it becomes easier and more convenient to rely on web-based tools and storage to do your work. They're less expensive than iPads, while still having keyboards and USB ports. They can also easily be swapped between users, since Google user data syncs immediately upon login. For those reasons and more, they're gaining traction in K-12 education, as schools look for inexpensive solutions for getting computers in the classroom.

We have a Chromebook as part of our educational technology sandbox, and it is available for checkout to faculty and staff at the IT Service Desk. Drop on by and give it a whirl! You might be surprised with how easy it is to warm up to. Just be sure to follow our instructions for connecting it to campus wireless.

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