I realize that Chromebooks aren’t free, but I think that a good chunk of my readers will be interested in this information anyway.
This afternoon Google announced the release of new Chromebooks. Part of that announcement was a list of updates to the Chrome operating system. So far Read Write Web has the most complete review of the new Chromebooks and I encourage you to read it. The Reader’s Digest version is this: the new Chrome OS will support native support for Microsoft Office files and will provide better support for multitasking. The new hardware includes a product called a Chromebox which is a desktop version of a Chromebook. The Chromebox concept reminds me of the Mac Mini.
Take a tour of the new Chrome OS user interface in the video below.
Applications for Education
In addition to the announcement of support for native support for Microsoft Office files, Google’s announcement also promised offline support for Google Documents will start in the next few weeks. Those two factors remove a hurdle to Chromebook use that many teachers and tech administrators have pointed to since Chromebooks were launched last year. For a good run-down of Chromebook use in an elementary school, visit Kevin Jarrett’s Project Chromebook blog.