Chromebooks in education: What they are and their advantages over laptops and tablets

For a few years there has been talk of tablets, laptops, netbooks, but when I mention “I am now using a Chromebook”, the most frequent question is: “What is a Chromebook?”

What is a ChromeBook?

A Chromebook is a laptop that uses Google’s Chrome OS operating system, with the particularity that the applications are not installed locally on the computer but rather are accessed through the web browser . The Chromebook has been designed primarily to be used with an Internet connection.


Since no applications are installed or files are stored on the computer, the laptop’s hard drive has a very small capacity, just 16 or 32GB depending on the model, compared to a minimum of 500GB on most laptops.

The Chromebook is designed to work with documents and applications that exist in the cloud , especially Google Apps. Google automatically provides you with 100GB of cloud storage space for free for two years with every Chromebook.

Advantages of the ChromeBook compared to a PC or tablet

But what advantages can a Chromebook bring us, both for the teacher and for the student, as an alternative to the traditional Windows or MAC laptop or even the famous iPad?

Laptop reboot in seconds

One of the big benefits of a lightweight hard drive is that you can power up your laptop and log on in about 7 seconds . This is a significant improvement over Windows or MAC OS X laptops, especially if the latter don’t have a solid-state drive ( SSD ) that provides a much faster running experience.

The teacher eliminates that waiting time where each student has to turn on the laptop to get going in class or in the event that a technical problem arises for a student and they need to restart the computer.

Beyond Google Apps for Education

The Chromebook is specially designed for the use of Google Apps for education , a free suite of online applications that includes word processors, Gmail for the center, Calendar, Photos, Classroom for classroom management and Keep for taking notes, among many others. . Google Apps allows you to create and share content and access activities, as well as standing out for simplifying communication between students, teachers and parents.

But beyond Google Apps, Google has made it easy for Android app developers to easily import apps onto Chromebooks. Although the educational selection in the Chrome Web Store is still not as extensive as in Google Play or the Apple Store that we see on tablets, you can still install a series of native applications that do not require the use of the web browser. Some of the more robust apps on Chromebooks are Evernote, Wunderlist, Socrative, Pocket, and Kindle Reader.

You can also access through the web browser many applications that you already use now, such as the Moodle platform, the classroom blog, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, Dropbox or online editors, which do not require a specific App for their efficient use. .

In fact, if the center already uses Microsoft Office applications normally, it is not an impediment to adopting Chromebooks since it is possible to access Microsoft Office online from the web and use OneDrive or Dropbox as a cloud storage service.

However, if you frequently use applications that are installed on your computer in your work, such as an image editor like Photoshop or a video editor like Camtasia, it will be difficult for you to find complete substitutes for these programs that are web-based.

Work without internet connection

When you see the home screen of a Chromebook, you are simply presented with the Chrome web browser, which is everything you need to browse the Internet and work in the cloud. While most of the tools and apps you use on a Chromebook are web-based, keep in mind that a Chromebook doesn’t stop working or stop you from working if you lose your Internet connection .

Google allows you to configure some of the Google Apps, such as Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Keep and Gmail, to work without an Internet connection. With the guarantee that when you reconnect, it will send all the changes made in these applications to the cloud, so that you always have the latest version from any computer.

Likewise, many of the applications mentioned above that are found in the Chrome Web Store also allow you to work with them without having an Internet connection.