26 Apr Chromebit Brings the Google OS Experience to Any Classroom
The Chromebit’s dongle-based computing gives schools a more affordable alternative to Chromebook one-to-one programs.
Google has never bowed to critics who question the viability of sustaining a Chromebook market outside of the educational sector. As it turns out, this unstoppable technology giant has already figured out the next step to winning over business owners and average consumers: turn the Chrome OS into a low-cost, ultra-portable dongle.
This summer, Google plans to release the Chromebit for less than $100, allowing consumers to transform any monitor with an HDMI port into a computing hub. Powered by a Rockchip 3288 SoC, the Chromebit can deliver computing performance comparable to a Chromebook, while 2GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory are more than sufficient for casual browsing, desktop publishing and media streaming. The Chromebit is also equipped with Bluetooth capability, a USB port and a microUSB port, and Google expects the first branded version to come from ASUS.
The Chromebit: A Gateway to 1:1 Programs?
The Chromebit makes the Google OS experience more attractive to traditional computer users who value the flexibility of plugging in at any location. At the same time, it offers school districts a lower cost option for integrating more technology in classrooms and computer labs.
Success stories from Chromebook schools, such as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district in North Carolina and the Lee County district in South Carolina, have made administrators around the country eager for technological reform, but districts with limited budget and grant options often struggle to transition from traditional textbook learning to digitized classrooms. Schools can use the Chromebit to update an existing computer lab without shouldering the cost of full desktop units, and the Google Apps for Education suite eliminates the need to purchase multiple sets of costly software licenses.
In individual classrooms, the Chromebit could give teachers access to an expansive content database. Instead of hitting the books every day, they can plug in the dongle and broadcast a lecture from a guest speaker or use online interactive study materials to help students review before an upcoming quiz.
As college coursework and curriculum materials are increasingly offered online, institutions of higher education expect students to arrive with far more than a basic understanding of computer navigation, word processing and desktop publishing. When students head off to start careers, hiring managers demand an even longer list of entry-level skills, ranging from photo editing to social networking.
Expanding a school’s technology capabilities by degrees can help administrators test the waters while looking for options for one-to-one funding. In the meantime, students gain enough exposure to learn how to adapt to an ever-changing tidal wave of new technology and software.
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