This week Google launched the Chromebook – a cloud-based "laptop" priced at $20 per month. That's $180 per student for a nine-month school year. Not a bad price for 1 to 1.
It's built on the already popular Google Chrome and Google apps platform. (I'm using both with increasing regularity). It will be a tempting offer for schools – instant on, always connected – plus no software installs, anti-virus, or upgrades to worry about. Run it at school on the district WiFi, then take it home and use 3G – Verizon is providing 100mb of data per month for free.
The Chromebook will raise big questions about collection of personal student data, internet security and acceptable use policies. But Google claims to have features in place which offers granular controls on web access (1st graders can't get to sites that might be acceptable to high schoolers.)
I wonder if schools will take the bait? If I were the school IT guy – I'd be nervous. If it turns out Chromebook works as advertised, I might be out of work.
On second thought – I should get one for my mother. That's an IT job I'd like to lose!