Chromebooks are scaring me!

I remember the good old days…

Way back in August of 2011, or–as I like to call it–the start of last school year, the breakdown of district-owned operating systems in my school district looked like this:

We were basically a 100% Windows shop. That little sliver that you see there represents the one Android cell phone that an administrator in our district was carrying around. Everything else in our district, be it laptop or desktop or tablet (Yes! We had about 15 Tablet PC’s) was running Windows.

It was a glorious time to be a CIO! A better time. A simpler time. Because everything was able to be centrally managed by Microsoft software.

Then everything changed. And it’s my fault they changed, and I even knew they were going to change because of what I was doing.  I wrote about it in a previous blog post on my old blog (Click here to read the blog entry).  Rather than go into all of that again, suffice it to say that I intentionally opened up the network so that non-Microsoft, non-Active Directory devices could join.

And boy have they joined. For about 12 months prior to opening up the network, I’d been discouraging people in the district from purchasing iPads because our network didn’t give them full functionality. Once we upgraded and opened up the network, district leaders immediately started purchasing iPads for staff members to use, and over the summer we started purchasing them for students to use as well. By Halloween of this past year, just a little more than 12 months later, our OS breakdown looked like this:


You’ll notice that our Android percentage had jumped up a little (several more district admin Android phones and a classroom set of Kindle Fires), but in 14 months time the iOS devices (I’m including iPod Touch’s in the total, of which we have 7) had risen to become 7 percent of all computing devices owned by the district. While that may not seem like much, that translates into nearly 100 devices, and they were ALL purchased in a relatively short period of time. And in meetings and in my writings I’ve used this as an example of sweeping change that’s occurring in K-12 IT. I’ve done it in part to try to help people understand that the face of computing–at least in my school district–is changing radically. I wanted to scare them, to be frank.

But I’m starting to believe that I may have drastically underestimated how quickly things are changing, and now I’M the one that’s starting to get scared.

What has me so shaken up? On October 24, 2012, I used some of my discretionary technology dollars to purchase a single $249 Samsung Google Chromebook. It arrived on November 2, and I took it home over Election Day weekend (My district was off both Monday and Tuesday). I loved it, and the following week at our monthly administrator meeting I talked it up, passed it around for everyone to see, and said that–with its long battery life, support for Flash, ability to administer CIITS online assessments, and nearly full sized keyboard–this might be THE device that we’ve been waiting for.

Based on that conversation, on Thursday, January 3, 2013, less than two months later, our network looks like this:

As impressed as I was by the ascent of iOS devices in our network (And they continue to grow–we’ve ordered several more since October, which is why their percentage hasn’t changed in the graphic above), the explosion of Chrome devices has been unbelievable! The OS has already overtaken both Android and iOS devices COMBINED. By the end of January we should have 3 classrooms using complete sets of Chrome as an in school 1:1 solution, and 2 other full classroom sets that are being shared in carts. And we’ll have a handful of others!

As I said, I may have misjudged the revolution, both how fast it was occurring and where the revolution was coming from!



P.S. I’ll write an update about how it’s going later in the semester. As it stands, only two of the teachers got their Chromebooks in time to use them prior to Christmas Break.

1 thought on “Chromebooks are scaring me!

  1. David Andrade

    I am also a CIO deploying Chromebooks and love them. Easy to manage and deploy, easy to use, minimal support.

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