I’ve been fascinated by the reactions of different people this fall (showing my North America bias here, clearly) when I’ve broached the subject of netbooks for K-12 students in 1:1 learning settings. I’ve met educators extremely enthusiastic about the power, flexibility, and durability of netbooks, and I’ve met vendors who dismissed the entire netbook technology as useless, underpowered, throwaway toys.
If you’re still a netbook-doubter when it comes to 1:1 learning initiatives, consider Google Chrome OS. The current English Wikipedia article for it predicts a stable release in the second quarter of 2010. Yesterday’s CNN article, “Google OS: the end of the hard drive?,” predicts availability even later in the year:
The first Chrome OS netbooks will be available in late 2010, [Sundar] Pichai said. It will not be available as a download to run and install. Instead, Chrome OS is only shipping on specific hardware from manufacturers Google has partnered with. That means if you want Chrome OS, you’ll have to purchase a Chrome OS device.
I’m surprised to hear Chrome OS won’t be bootable from a flash drive if you’re running a different hardware platform. Mandating that a specific type of hardware will be required to run the OS sounds more like Apple than Google. Given Google’s preference for open standards and an open platform like the Android OS, I’ll be surprised if these predictions of a limited platform for Google OS pan out. Time will tell.
The three minute, 20 second YouTube video, “What is Google Chrome OS?” was published last Wednesday and gives a good overview (in a style reminiscent of Lee LeFever and his Common Craft “In Plain English” video series) about Chrome OS:
It is interesting that the video authors chose to highlight the word “stateless” to describe cloud-based computing on a browser-based OS like Chrome OS. I would have thought they would discuss “cloud computing” as a term instead.
Are client-side applications dead? Hardly. If you’ve done any serious video editing lately, you don’t need to be convinced of this. Cloud-based / stateless computing functionalities are exploding, however, and making the viability of netbooks running Ubuntu as well as (eventually) the Chrome OS stronger than ever. If you have doubts, check out the curriculum for the Google Workshop for Educators I helped facilitate with Lisa Thumann a week ago in Austin. The creative and collaborative possibilities with Google tools alone are AMAZING today. And these powerful functionalities are only going to grow in the months and years ahead.
When is your school district going to finally abandon paper-based textbooks and invest in netbooks along with digital curriculum for all students instead? 2010 won’t be too early.
Common Craft’s 3 minute “Cloud Computing in Plain English” video was released on November 11th, and provides an excellent overview of what cloud computing is and why it’s so compelling relative to older models of maintaining and supporting your own enterprise servers.
A new computing day has dawned. Has your organizational IT department officially noticed yet?
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