Another dot in the blogosphere?

Chromebooks: A means to edtech end

Posted on: October 6, 2017

A few days ago, I reflected on a criticism of Chromebooks in classrooms. In my reflection I unpacked the criticism and weighed in on the issue.

Today I share another perspective: Chromebooks are a means to a larger end.

For Google, that end is mind share. The goal is to get as many kids aware of what Chromebooks can do and how to work in the cloud. When the kids grow up and can afford to buy things or make important decisions, Google knows that mind share becomes market share.

But an educator typically does not think this way. So what it the long term appeal?

Chromebooks are a strategy to get fast and reliable wifi in schools. As just about everything must be accessed and done online on Chromebooks, wifi is a basic necessity. A teacher cannot teach and students cannot learn without it.

Chromebooks then are a chess piece in the larger edtech game. The wifi and Internet pipe that schools get as a result could then power many other efforts, be it the modernisation of administrative processes or the liberation of libraries.

This is assuming that gatekeepers do not apply too many locks and filters to the pipe. But not to worry. If they do, the kids will figure out workarounds and the adults can learn from them.

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