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Google student-led Chromebook repair program

Google helps teachers pick Chromebooks, adds student-led Chromebook repair program

I’d say Google knows where its bread is buttered when it comes to Chromebooks. It’s the education market. So that explains today’s blog post with two new announcements. First, Google has a new site to help teachers pick Chromebooks. And second, there’s a new student-led Chromebook repair program, which I think is brilliant.

I looked through the new web page meant to help teachers pick Chromebooks. Frankly, I wasn’t impressed. It seems like a slightly tweaked version of Google’s existing Chromebook device picker, to be honest. Oh, if you didn’t know Google had one of those for consumers, it’s right here.

Instead of the existing page that rates Chromebooks as Plus or Premium models, the education-focused site are grouped by “remote learning” and “advanced use”. There are also some attributes related to specific use-cases such as multiple browser tabs and creating presentations. Meh.

What really disappoints me is that there are plenty of non-education models on the page for teachers. I’m not saying these are bad choices if you’re a teacher. It’s just that there’s a bunch of overlap between the two sites.

Google helps teachers pick Chromebooks

Would you expect the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 to be here? Or the 2020 Samsung Galaxy Chromebook? It’s there too. That’s not a great choice to recommend given the detrimental battery life and better, cheaper options available today.

What makes these good education-focused Chromebooks? Nothing special, although I did pick the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 as my Chromebook of the year for 2021. It’s a good choice… for anyone relying on a Chromebook all day, every day. Google highlights the Spin 713 as good for:

  • Content creation & editing
  • Heavy multitasking
  • Running apps virtually

I don’t disagree with those use-cases at all for a high-end device. But I wouldn’t expect much heavy-duty content creation or editing to be done by most teachers. And running apps virtually alludes to running Windows apps, which is another cost. Didn’t the school district go with Chrome OS to save money?

The bigger news, and better idea, to me, is the new student-led Chromebook repair program. Google has initially partnered with Acer and Lenovo to create this program.

The concept is to offer information on which Chromebooks are easier to repair than others. And to provide information and access to parts so the Chromebooks can be repaired on-site. This helps save money for schools that can do their own repairs and it provides younger students with some hands-on hardware support. I don’t think any of the repairs are too demanding for students as low as fifth or sixth grade. And if they are, a little guidance from a teacher or support person will go a long way.

Hey, if the new website helps teachers pick Chromebooks, great. The new student-led Chromebook repair program though? That’s a win all around: For teachers, students, and school budgets.

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Kevin C. Tofel
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