Following Apple’s big education announcements, Google is at the annual FETC ed-tech conference in Orlando to discuss some highlights of its education initiatives and to give out nearly 27,000 Chromebooks to students.

It’s great to see this positive momentum for Chromebooks in classrooms. It’s similar to where we were about five years ago when Google Apps was just getting off the ground. At that time, educational institutions were the most interested and it was inspiring to hear the different ways schools and districts had begun using Gmail, Calendar and Docs. At FETC we’ve been similarly excited to see how teachers have formed communities around professional development for Chromebooks, districts all across the US are piloting Chromebooks in their classrooms, and more and more reach out to us to learn about Chromebooks for Education every day.

During Google’s keynote, the company announced three new school districts will be offering 1-to-1 Chromebooks for as many as 27,000 students including 4,300 for Iowa’s Council Bluffs Community School District, 3,500 for Illinois’ Leyden Community High School District, and 19,000 to the Richland School District Two in South Carolina. Google noted Chromebooks are now deployed in 41 states across the U.S. in hundreds of classrooms. (Chromebook charging cart is pictured on the right).

Executive Director of Information Systems at Council Bluffs Community school district said the following regarding the announcement:

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“From my perspective, Chromebooks couldn’t get any simpler; setting up this many laptops would have typically taken our team at least 3 months. And from the instructional side, we are teaching content not technology, and Chromebooks simply support teachers in what they do best while giving students the resources they need to be productive citizens. As just one example the quality of work that students turn in has improved literally overnight – from incomplete sentences to full paragraphs, in some cases – because they are much more engaged and participating readily in class.”

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