The Top 5 Benefits of Using Chromebooks in Education

Well before the pandemic drastically altered the technological needs of educational systems worldwide, Google Chromebook was the go-to device for e-learning in US school systems, comprising 60% of all education shipments in 2017.

The device has made up the majority of device purchases for K-12 classrooms since 2016, and its education platform, Google Workspace for Education, is used by over 170 million educators and students globally.

In addition to their ease of use, Chromebooks can provide numerous advantages for educators, school and district administrators, and students.

In this article, we discuss the top five benefits of Google Chromebooks for educators and students alike.

1. They’re Well-Equipped for Distance Learning

Nearly 93% of households with school-aged children engaged in some form of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the demand for features such as screen recording for class sessions.

Chromebook updates include a screen recording tool built directly into Chrome OS, which allows teachers and students to record lessons and assignments whether at home or in the classroom.

A native screen recording tool makes it easier to record and reference virtual lessons and is simple to use. Once a user activates the recording tool from the Quick Settings panel, they can set their screen recording preference and audio settings.

A countdown timer appears on-screen before the recording begins, and a red circle is displayed in the bottom task- bar while the Chromebook is recording. Clicking the red button stops the recording, after which the user can view, share, and save the video file.

Distance learning also increased the need for offline device use and support when users are not connected to the internet. Many schools utilize Google Classroom and Google Workspace for Education, both of which work natively on Chromebooks.

With Google Classroom and Workspace, IT teams can enable offline access for users. This functionality allows students without internet connectivity to work on applications such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and files in Google Drive.

Chromebook also offers extensions (e.g., Screencastify for recording presentations) that enable offline classwork.

To find more useful offline applications, educators can search the Chromebook App Hub or the Chrome Web Store and use the “runs offline” filter.

2. They’re Designed for Diverse Student Needs

Education-focused Chromebook models include accessibility features right out of the box.

These built-in settings, apps, and extensions are designed to meet the needs of all learners. Examples include:

Chromebook keyboards also use lowercase letters instead of uppercase. Most device keyboards have only uppercase letters on the alphabetic keys, which can be confusing for students who press a key labeled “A” but see an “a” appear on their screen.

The Chromebook keyboard design is intended to help younger students learn how to read, type, and form a stronger mental connection between what appears on screen and the key they press.

3. They Feature Robust, Built-in Security Features

In 2020, nearly half of all learning institutions worldwide were targeted by ransomware attacks. These attacks compromise data and cause significant disruptions to in-person and virtual learning, and schools and universities paid hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in ransoms.

Vulnerable devices are a key source of cybercriminal activity. To protect data and applications from viruses and malware, Chromebook devices install security updates and patches automatically without the need for user interaction.

This takes many IT-related services out of the hands of school districts and decreases lost learning time due to technological issues that can stem from viruses and malware.

Even with hundreds of devices spread across school and offsite learning environments, Chromebooks are easy for school districts and IT teams to manage. Chromebook has a web-based Google Admin console that allows IT teams to configure hundreds of device settings––including connectivity preferences, content filtering, and preinstalled applications.

The cloud-based storage on Chromebooks saves student work to Google Drive automatically. In addition to removing the cost burden of managing external drives (e.g., USB sticks), automatic cloud storage ensures that work is never lost.

To protect devices and data, Chromebooks utilize sandboxing, which is an organizational method that opens and runs each browser, web application, or internal application in its own “sandbox.”

This isolation prohibits the spread of any virus to other system components.

Chromebooks also utilize Verified Boot, which is a system integrity check that activates every time the device boots up.

Should the self-check identify system tampering or corruption, it triggers the Chromebook to repair itself, without any user effort.

4. They Can Increase Efficiency and Productivity

Time is of the essence in the classroom. Interruptions to classroom instruction impact both students and teachers, and can lead to a significant chunk of lost learning time.

When it comes to technology in the classroom, disruptions often appear in the form of long device start-up times, dead batteries, lost network connectivity, and more.

Chromebooks boot up quickly and are ready to go in about 10 seconds. Even if a student or teacher needs to reboot their device, that task is about 73% faster than with non-Chrome OS devices.

The long battery life offered by Chromebooks means that instruction won’t be disrupted by a user scrambling to find a nearby outlet. While battery life varies by device and usage habits, Chromebooks can run up to 12 hours, on average, between charges.

Since Chromebooks also work offline, they pose little risk of lost productivity in the event of a Wi-Fi outage. If students or teachers have connectivity issues, they can still view, create, and edit Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Google Slides.

They can also access Gmail messages and compose messages and emails, which will beare sent once the Chromebook is online again.

5. They Integrate with Other Google Services and Applications

Chromebooks use Chrome OS, which is an operating system designed to support Google applications and services. More than 170 million educators and students already use some of these services, such as Google Classroom and Google Workspace for Education.

Since Chromebooks are compatible with Google Workspace for Education, schools can elevate their digital environment with access to Google Calendar, Drive, Meet, Docs, and Slides.

This cloud-based applications package comes in a range of options from a free suite of tools to enhanced capabilities with paid editions.

Chromebooks are also designed to work with Google Classroom, a tool within Google Workspace for Education designed to facilitate learning, collaboration, and communication.

Google Classroom is one of the most popular learning-management platforms in K–-12 schools and is used by over 150 million students, teachers, and school administrators.

Since Chromebooks store applications, student work, and personalized settings in the cloud rather than on the device itself, they can be shared between multiple students easily. Students or teachers can access their information and settings by signing into their Google accounts.

Enhance Google Chromebooks with Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS

Despite their numerous benefits, Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, which is incompatible with Windows applications. This means that when using a Chromebook, students and teachers cannot access full-featured productivity applications such as Microsoft Word or Excel.

Parallels® Desktop for Chrome OS gives students, teachers, and administrators access to full-featured Windows applications, with or without an internet connection.

Installing Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS on a Chrome OS device allows users to run full-featured Windows OS and software as if they were installed locally.

Windows and Chrome OSs can run side-by-side, making it easy to share files and folders between the two operating systems.

By offering users the benefits of using a Chromebook while being able to run Windows and Windows applications, Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS was named one of the top three tech innovations of 2020.

Experience the educational benefits of Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS firsthand: Download a free trial today.