Despite having been mocked because of its browser-only OS limitation, Chromebooks have seen an astonishing degree of success in certain sectors including education, mostly due to the combination of high efficiency and low costs.
For years, students at Robertsdale High in the small town of Robertsdale, Alabama, were each given a MacBook to use at school and at home, from third to twelfth grade. Teachers got ahold of one themselves, too, while younger students used iPads.
That added up to some 20,000 devices; a three-year, $24 million plan defined by the school’s officials as a “Digital Renaissance” — that was, however, until it stopped last month.
As per a Washington Post report, from now on students will be given Chromebooks manufactured by Lenovo, and the reason couldn’t be simpler: cost. With an average price of $200, Google‘s machines are approximately 75% less expensive than Apple’s, according to school board documents.
This comes as no surprise, if not for the fact that the school’s most famous graduate is none other than Tim Cook; but still, the trend seems to be becoming clearer and clearer, with Chromebooks surpassing Macs both in the stores shelves and in schools’ desks.
The school’s plan is to spend $6.6 million on 23,500 new N21 Chromebooks — a relatively low-end model — for students to use before classes begin again this fall, all paid simply by reselling the old and used MacBooks.
According to Baldwin County schools’ chief technology officer Homer Coffman, price is however only part of the story. Chromebooks, in fact, are “simpler to maintain and simpler to use”, other than generally more secure than MacBooks. Also, teachers and students already use Google’s education apps, which of course run perfectly on Chromebooks.
“Baldwin County will not be using bleeding edge technology with this implementation. It will be using proven technologies,” Coffman said.
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