Lots of great things coming for Chromebook and Google Apps for Education

ISTE just wrapped up–a conference that I hope to present at and attend in the future.  ISTE is the “big dog” conference of education technology, just as Winter NAMM is the big conference for music.  

ISTE released new standards for students, revising their 2007 standards.  The standards don’t deviate that much from the previous versions, but there is a hope on ISTE’s part that teachers are doing more than just occasionally using technology these days.  The new standards reflect a world that is more highly connected and a world where 1:1 programs are becoming standard place in our culture.

If you missed the earlier news, Chromebooks are going to run Android apps in the very near future.  This opens Chromebooks beyond the relatively constrained supply of apps avaialble on Chrome OS to the huge variety of apps on Android.  It turns out that my Asus Flip, in the developer channel (nothing special, you simply turn it on) can run the early version of the Android functionality.  I have been working with the new feature, and things aren’t working so well for the applications that I would use.  However–it is early in the game, and this is only going to get better.  Mobile Sheets is perhaps the best sheet music reader for Android, and it sort-of runs on Chromebook.  Every time I exit the app, everything stored in the app is lost.  

That’s all okay–you can see where things are going.  This is why the Wall Street Journal (rightly) predicted the end of Chromebooks–I fully expect that we will see Android become “unified” with Chrome within two years.

Now here’s the big question: Android on Chromebooks will make “flip” models a much more useful tool in schools (and for any other location).  Will your school drop the additional $50 to $100 per device to obtain this functionality the next time Chromebooks are refreshed?

The other two big items were in relation to GAFE (Google Apps for Education) tools.  Google Forms now offers a quiz option that allows teachers to make quizzes out of Google Forms.  Yes, an add-on called Fluabaroo has done that for a while, but Flubaroo requires an extra bit of set-up that some teachers were unwilling to undertake.  Now you can make a quiz with a single button option.  If you are using Google Classroom–this will be incredible.

Second, Google is going to offer a Chromecast for GAFE that allows students to send their materials to a teacher’s computer screen (which would ideally be connected to a computer).  In my own tests, Chromecast is significantly slower and latent versus Apple’s AirPlay, but someone lost in the desert can’t complain about what kind of bottled water they are given.  In other words, this is a solution for Chromebook schools that don’t have a solution, so it should be celebrated.

Yes, I remain an “iPad” guy, but things are starting to change with Chromebooks in a way that offers hope for those of us who don’t teach with desks in our rooms or need keyboards (at least all the time).

Flat.io also had a strong presence at ISTE, which is wonderful.  I hope they can make it to some of the larger music education conferences in the United States in the future (the company is located in France, so conference involvement represents a significant investment in capital).


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