Mobile Computing

Google Expects 40 New Chromebooks This Year

Google just announced that the education world would see 40 new Chromebooks along with accessibility improvements during this year. The announcements came during a 90-minute virtual session on "learning with Google." (Replays of the event will be available for viewing by registered users after Feb. 19, 2021.)

Among the updates will be a new screen recording tool built into the Chrome OS, available in March. The tool will enable both teachers and students to record lessons and reports in the classroom and at home.

The company has also updated ChromeVox, its screen reader, with improved tutorials, the ability to search ChromeVox menus and voice switching that changes the screen reader's voice to match the language of the text.

To tighten device and app usage, Google has also added the ability for families to link a Google Workspace for Education account (previously known as G Suite for Education) to their students' personal Google Accounts and manage it with Family Link. This enables kids to log into apps and websites they need with a school account and enable the parents to set usage guidelines.

Also, the company has developed created a resource to help schools identify which devices are best suited for their needs. The Google document provides a four-step process for choosing the right Chromebook:

1. Setting out the primary use case ("basic classroom use," classroom and distance learning use" and "advanced" use);

2. Mapping out the device specifications needed;

3. Determining the right device by specific configurations, such as auto-update expiration or those that have LTE connectivity; and

4. Comparing across the "device ecosystem" to find the one that fits the criteria. Devices in the comparison include lists of machines (but not links) from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung.

Information about the Chrome updates is openly available on the Google Education blog.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.