While students in the northern hemisphere say goodbye to each other and another school year, we’re in sunny San Diego meeting with thousands of educators and administrators at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. While on break from teaching, these folks are here to teach others how they’re bringing innovation into their classrooms—a lot of which centers around the web.
While the web was developed well before today’s students were born, it’s come a long way even since a year ago. Today you can access the web on any device, use the web offline and take advantage of amazing graphics. For example, you can get a powerful graphing calculator on the web today, for free.
It’s been really amazing to see how the web is impacting schools. We’ve heard great real-world stories about Google Apps for Education, but lately we’re hearing more and more about schools extending the functionality of Google Apps with educational apps available on the Chrome Web Store. There are tens of thousands of apps in the Chrome Web Store, and today we’re adding some new ones: ST Math, VoiceThread and Acheive3000.
To give you an idea of what’s possible on the web: Leyden High School District from Illinois is rolling out Chromebooks to their 3,500 students and are using apps like WeVideo, EasyBib, Vernier Labquest2, SlideRocket, Geogebra and Pearson’s OpenClass as part of their 1-to-1 learning initiative.
Chromebooks as a tool for 1-to-1 learning
It’s great to see that many schools are choosing Chromebooks as an effective and affordable 1-to-1 education tool. There are more than 500 districts in the U.S. and Europe actively using Chromebooks, and today we’re pleased to welcome a few more to the community, including Rockingham Country Schools, N.C., Transylvania County Schools, N.C., and Fond du Lac School District, Wis.
Chromebooks are always new—just last month we announced new devices, an updated, app-centric user interface and new pricing for schools. Chromebooks also make it just as easy for administrators to distribute 10, 100 or 1,000 Chromebooks, saving precious summer vacation time previously spent installing software and policies on computers. And great news for schools looking to make hardware purchases: the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia confirmed Chromebooks meet hardware and operating system requirements for student assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.
Applications for education
Today at ISTE, we are introducing some new features for schools using Chromebooks that make it even easier to find, use, install and manage web apps for your entire school:
- Grade-level application packs are groups of Chrome Web Store apps that integrate tightly with Google’s suite of Apps for Education, divided by grade levels to meet different classroom needs. These packs are installable from the Chromebook management console. Many of them are free and we’ve worked with the app makers to offer discounts for bulk purchases.
- Organization-specific web app collections in the Chrome Web Store give administrators the ability to recommend apps to students, teachers and staff. The collection is visible only to the school, and admins can curate apps from the Chrome Web Store, application packs and web apps purchased elsewhere or private apps developed by the school. (This feature is also available to Chromebooks for Business customers from the control panel.)
We’ve enjoyed being a part of ISTE the past several years, and always look forward to hearing about new ways that students and teachers are using the web to do amazing things. (If you’re at the conference, come see us at booth 2603 and listen to or share a story!)