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High tech Philly high school dumping Macs for Chromebooks

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Science Leadership Academy, a college-prep high school in Philadelphia, is joining the growing number of K–12 school districts choosing Chromebooks.

The process of moving its students off Mac laptops and onto Chromebooks is the result of a $620,000 grant announced on Thursday. Dell Inc. is awarding the grant to Science Leadership Academy naming it a "Center for Excellence in Learning."

The college-prep school focuses heavily on a curriculum in the categories of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The school is operated as a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute.

Currently students in the district are using Apple MacBooks. Over the next few weeks the school will begin rolling out Chromebooks to current freshmen.

Science Leadership Academy is one of many K–12 school districts who see Chromebooks not as a gimmick or gadget, but a real alternative to the Apple and Microsoft computers of the past.

Is Google using Apple's strategy?

Thursday's Wall Street Journal reports that Chromebooks currently account for 20% of purchases of mobile computers by K-12 school districts.

When Chromebook sales are discussed, the numbers are often qualified by drawing attention to the high percentage of sales to education. Is having a large number of sales to education, even at a reduced cost, a negative point?

In the early 1980s, Apple was putting computers into classrooms, sometimes giving them away to create a market for personal computers in schools. Working to win the loyalty of teachers Apple dominated the education marketplace.

Getting kids growing up using a particular technology and hope they take their loyalty with them into the work place, Google is taking a page from Apple's strategy.

Gaining acceptance in K–12 schools

The growing widespread acceptance of Chromebooks in K–12 school districts is more than just sales hype.

In an online article from the Fall 2013 issue of EdTech magazine, author Dan Tynan explains, "5 Reasons Chromebooks Make Sense for Schools." The author does a good job of decribing how the simplicity of the Chromebooks is more of a blessing than a curse, and pitches Google Apps for Education as a quick and painless tool for educators.

In a follow up article addressing common concerns, "5 Challenges to Rolling Out Chromebooks," Tynan dispels some myths about the use of Chromebooks in education. One common myth addressed is the need to know how to use Microsoft office. Tynan quotes a U.S. News& World Report survey, that states 66 of the top 100 colleges use Google Apps for Education.

The two EdTech articles offer some good information and solid reasons not to be afraid of Google Chromebooks.

About the only ones who should be afraid of Chromebooks are Apple and Microsoft!

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What's on your mind today?

Are you wondering what is so special about the Google Chromebook? Or are you are suffering from the urge to buy an iPhone 5 and don't know why?

Stay up to date on technology news, follow Tom Peracchio on the net ... The Guru 42 Blog, @Gu42 on Twitter , Guru42 on Google+ or Guru42 on Facebook

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