Why Chromebook is good for students

Today, at ZDNET, James Kendrick's commentary "Chromebooks and students: Long term trouble for Microsoft" adds to a growing meme. With a few schools deploying Chromebooks (emphasis few) and rumors Microsoft has slashed Windows licensing fees (remember unconfirmed), recurring theme "2014 is year of the Chromebook and Windows is in deep dodo because of it" isn't surprising. But just because bloggers say something's true often enough, doesn't make it that way. Twenty fourteen isn't year of the Chromebook, nor is its utility to the education market guaranteed.

That said, Kendrick makes some good points about why Chromebook appeals to students. I won't recap them. This isn't an aggregated synopsis. You can read his fine points. My post adds to them, from experience. I am a long-time Chromebook user.


Ignoring price, which Kendrick covers, I see these characteristics appealing to students:

1. Keyboard. As a writer, I find writing on Chromebook to be better, and more creative, than most every other PC. The exceptional keyboard -- well, on most models -- is reason.

2. Docs. Google's productivity suite facilitates writing, too. The user interface is streamlined -- not cluttered -- and presents the features that most people need most of the time. I get lots of creative work done in Docs, which auto-save feature is a life saver.

3. Fidelity. I find Docs' Microsoft Word conversion to be exceptional. For students who need to create documents and submit them to teachers who require .doc, .docx, or PDF, Google Docs delivers. I write ebooks in the browser, with no trouble converting to Word, which Amazon prefers for Kindle book submissions.

4. Research. Like many students, I do much of my research in a browser, or through Hangouts interact with sources there. The browser UI, and Docs within it, brings forward the student's primary research tool, search.

5. Instant on. Chromebook is ready with flip of the lid. By the specs, Windows laptops with SSDs have the same capability. But applications usually take longer than Windows to be available. That kind of delay is rare with Chromebook, which is ready to take notes, or whatever else the student needs, faster.

Shameless plug: I explain more about the laptop's benefits in my ebook Chromebook Matters (Amazon, Google Play, Smashwords).

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