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Catch Up On The Latest Chromebook News

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February 1, 2017

Google Announces New Chromebooks, New Features

On January 24th Google made some exciting announcements for Chromebooks in education at The Bett Show. This is going to mean big things for schools, and I wanted to share this exciting news with you.

Google has been working with schools, students and educators to develop a new line of Chromebooks that will truly meet everyone’s needs in the classroom. I wrote earlier this year about Android apps coming to the Chromebook. The good news is that every Chromebook from here on out will support that functionality. Google says that very soon, you will be able to create a library of approved Android apps and install them on select managed Chromebooks.

They also have a bunch of new Chromebooks coming, but they specifically announced the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 and the Asus Chromebook C213, which will be in stock later this spring. Here’s what makes them different from the Chromebooks you’re using now:

These new Chromebooks will work with a stylus

Both Chromebooks come with an affordable stylus. This is their language, not mine. No word yet on pricing, but the Chromebooks are low cost, and I would imagine the stylus would be as well. They resemble #2 pencils with an eraser for correcting mistakes. You don’t have to charge the stylus or connect it to a device. This should make them easy to use and share! Handwritten notes will now be possible using a Chromebook!

And with the Google Classroom Android app available on the device, students will be able to write out math problems or sketch out answers in any subject. This is going to be an AMAZING tool for schools. I can’t wait to see how our oklaed community uses it.

These new Chromebooks will have a world-facing camera

The one thing Google says they heard from educators was the desire for a front-facing camera so that students could use the device to record videos and take photos for projects. That’s now available on these new Chromebooks! The screen can be flipped and held like a tablet so students can record!

These new Chromebooks will eliminate your charging problems

A common complaint about Chromebooks is that they are at times slow to charge and that finding extra chargers for your devices can be difficult. Starting with these Chromebooks, all Chromebooks will move to USB-C charging. This will make charging devices quicker and it means universal charging plugs for your devices.

These new Chromebooks will give your students access to apps that were previously a pipe dream

Adobe is releasing a suite of Android that have been optimized for the Chromebook. The apps are Photoshop Mix, Lightroom Mobile, Illustrator Draw, Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Comp CC, and Creative Cloud Mobile. These are free and will help your students create content!!

Google Classroom

All these announcements are exciting, but when you put them hand in hand with Google Classroom and the new features they recently rolled out, you can’t be anything but ecstatic.

The Android app we already mentioned will allow your students to be able to sketch and turn in handwritten or drawn content, but on top of that they have more new features.

Google Classroom can now help you differentiate and personalize. You can assign things to one student or a subset of students instead of the whole classroom. This will help you challenge the gifted and get those who are lagging behind up to speed.

Also new is the ability to see classroom data in the Admin Console Reports, which allows admins see metrics on how Classroom is being used in their district.

And if you wanted more, they have it

Google has added new capabilities to the Classroom API. They are highlighting three new apps:

The first is Flat.IO, which allows you to edit music scores on your Chrome devices and integrates with Google Classroom.

The second is called Classcraft, a gamification system that will integrate with your Google Classroom.

The third is LIttle SIS, and I’m most excited about it. It will allow you to export student rosters from any SIS, and then their desktop program will create all of your Google Classrooms for you!


This is amazing, and I’m excited to help your districts get all they can out of these tools in the coming year!

About the Author

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Ben Parker

Director, Technology

Ben serves as Director of Technology for the OPSRC. In this role, he will provide support to schools on technical issues and training on pressing technology topics. Ben will assist partner schools with trainings, comprehensive technology plans, e-Rate applications, technology purchasing consultation, and other school and district technology decisions.

Prior to working with OPSRC, Ben was the Director of Technology for the Locust Grove Public School District. Ben implemented a 1:1 tablet program in Locust Grove that saw 6th-12th graders go paperless in the classroom.

In his free time, Ben likes to read and play the drums.

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