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As a New School Year Starts, The First Schools Go Chromebook

Written by Frederic Lardinois on Aug 25, 2011

Google launched its Chromebooks for Education program earlier this year. Now, just as the new school year in the U.S. is about to start, the first couple of schools are announcing that they will move their students over to Chromebooks. Among these schools, according to Google, are Grace Lutheran School, Oshkosh, Wis., Merton Community School District, Merton, Wis. and The Fessenden School, West Newton, Mass.

Google rents its Chromebooks to schools for $20 per month. Chromebooks run ChromeOS – a basic, fast-loading operating system – and give users Internet access to a special version of Chrome to browse the web, but don’t allow users to install any other programs on the machine.

Small Deployments

The deployments that Google announced today are still relatively small. Grace Lutheran, for example, will only use 17 Chromebooks that will be shared in one classroom that will be used by 5th through 8th grade students. Fessenden will outfit two of its six laptop carts with Chromebooks. Merton Community School is planning a slightly larger deployment (110 Chromebooks for all 6th graders) and will also allow its students to take the laptops back home, where they can use the Chromebook’s 3G capabilities if needed. You can read a bit more about these schools’ reasoning for going Chromebook here.

Total Number of Schools that Have Gone Chromebook? Google Won’t Tell

I asked Google about how many schools exactly have gone Chromebooks so far, but a company spokesperson told me that the company doesn’t have any metrics to share at this time. Google, though, is “excited by the positive responses we’ve received from consumers, businesses and schools so far.” In this context, it’s also worth noting that most school districts neither have huge extra budgets these days and that things generally don’t move extremely fast in these environments either.