The recent news on strong K-12 takeup of Chromebooks for education received solid confirmation via the Google for Education official blog, where Hal Friedlander, Chief Information Officer at the New York City Department of Education, posted an item on the recent decision by the New York City Department of Education Division of Instructional and Informational Technology to approve the Google Apps for Education productivity suite as a supported tool for NYC public schools – and the Chromebooks to run it.
Friedlander said of the decision:
We saw that many schools wanted to use Chromebooks, and in our assessments, found them to be an affordable, manageable option for learning. So we worked with the OEMs to ensure Chromebooks met all our specifications, and added them to our list of approved school devices. We want the schools to have choices — whether it is a laptop or a tablet or both — across price range and functionality.
Noting that “a number of schools were already using Google Apps for Education,” he added “since Google Apps doesn’t require special technical skills, schools were able to customize the tools to meet their specific needs,” while “administrators told us they liked Google Apps because they could be as open or restrictive as they wanted in terms of how much communication they allowed beyond the school domain. From a central office perspective, we authorized Google Apps because it integrates easily with our existing systems and we find it very easy to manage.”
As to whether this leads to greater use of Chrome OS-based ereading solutions within NYC, that remains to be seen. But Chromebooks definitely seem to be a future staple that many publishers and ebook distributors are going to have to learn to deal with.