BPS buying 10,000 Chromebooks for student use

Mayor Walsh was scheduled to be on hand at the Mildred Avenue School in Mattapan this morning to accept the city's first shipment of cloud-based laptops to be shared by students at BPS schools.

By the end of the school year in June, BPS expects to have received 10,000 of the low-cost laptops, which rely on Google applications accessed over the Internet. According to the mayor's office:

The devices will remain at the school in easily portable storage carts, but students will be able to save their work and then retrieve it on another computer while away from school by logging back into their Google accounts.

Among the first uses of the new laptops: Letting students at 70 schools take an online assessment designed to test their readiness for college.

BPS technicians have spent the past few months adding new wireless access points and other technology to deal with the demands of 10,000 new wireless devices.

The city will spend $3 million for the devices.

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Comments

That's really good. I have

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That's really good. I have seen similar programs where everyone gets an ipad which seem foolish because those are just toys. Word processing and basic web access are what is important.

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ipads

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I was kinda wondering about why not ipads... no not really a fan, but curious since every other school seems to be giving out ipads instead.

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Googlified

City hall is using Google for a lot of their IT services now (mail and such), so the city may be getting a deal on chromebooks??

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My youngest brother is in

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My youngest brother is in high school and his school bought a ton of iPads. He said there is a note taking application and they have a subscription to digital versions of textbooks and online courses. Of course, very few students actually use them for such purposes and they frequently end up broken.

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So I guess that One Laptop

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So I guess that One Laptop Per Child guy (Negroponte?) from Cambridge is steaming about now.

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I just read

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that that office closed in Cambridge. Its still being produced but elsewhere.. I also heard he never made is 100 dollar goal originally and now they in the works to actually make it work (as the old model could not be made for less than 150)

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LAPTOPS

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tHIS IS GREAT BUT IS THIS GOING TO BE OFFERED TO ALL BPS Students??

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It'll probably be

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offered to all students for standardized tests online like the PARCC (replacement to MCAS). Stay tuned. It would be more useful if the students across BPS can use the chromebooks on an ongoing basis. They are not expensive and really useful.

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3 million?

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Chromebooks cost 250 a piece. Where's the other 500,000 going?

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Just a guess

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Probably covers the upgraded wireless equipment and whatever it is Google charges for its software licenses (and data storage?).

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...I was wrong. Acer c720's are 200 a piece

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So this is really crazy...now where talking about a $1,000,000 gap. That doesn't even take into consideration the bulk deal you get when you buy 10,000 of anything.

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Durability

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I don't remember the details, but at one time BPS was planning to pay extra for more durable Chromebooks, which I believe was expected to be a long term cost savings. As Adam points out above, the cost also includes some supporting services from Google.

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Durability

I bought an old Acer netbook (before Chromebooks) and the first one died before the warranty ran out (actually within a month). The second one has a really lousy keyboard - about 10 keys need to be pressed multiple times to register. I would go for the Samsung version over the Acer if I was BPS.

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Answer from BPS

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From BPS spokesman Brian Ballou:

Chromebooks: $279 x 25 (class set) = $7000
Cart: $1500
Wireless Access Point: $700

Costs include setup, delivery, Google managmenet, and training. Training will be provided by OIIT staff with a summer learning institute provided by Intel as part of the purchase.

OIIT is the BPS IT department.

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$1500 for a cart, lolllllll

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before you get all misty-eyed about this, consider that the reason google is doing this is to hook kids on cloud services.

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Oh, God, not cloud services!

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It's worse than meth!

Hopefully, these things will be put to better use than the millions of dollars worth of old computers Bill Gates gave to BPS 8 or 9 years ago. At least at my daughter's school, they just sat along a wall in classrooms, still wrapped in plastic and never used.

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Most netbooks are utter pieces of junk,

as downtown-anon noted: $25 worth of flimsy hardware retailing for $200, and you end up using somebody else's cloud apps and storage anyway. Chromebooks are really durable, reliable, fast machines for the purpose.

Acer makes decent low-end full-featured Windows laptops, the kind you don't mind replacing every couple of years. Only issue is that they now come with the fine-for-mobile, lousy-for-laptops Windows 8, but a $10 overlay app like Stardock Star8 will mimic the old Windows 7 interface.

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senseless

it does not make any sense to invest in a computer and an os that is not as widely used and has less software support.

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Seems to me that in the netbook model, the OS is irrelevant,

as by definition your app interface is a browser. The skills a young student learns using Chrome, Gmail, and Google Apps like Docs, Drawing, Slides, Sheets etc. are general-purpose and largely transferable to other environments. The only people that need to care about hardware and operating systems are developers and support people.

I agree that Google support is terrible, but I know many small businesses that have said "Screw Microsoft and Apple to hell", and are doing fine in pure-Google cloud app environments. I imagine that BPS reached the same calculus on the trade-off between software licensing costs and support quality in its decision, too.

no free or reduced lunch here

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The hardware is junk and is just a loss leader for Google to start building up their advertising profile on these kids from all the data that using Chromebooks and Google Apps will generate. I bet they even will show the students ads.

Waste of money Chromebooks are

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Many examples why Chromebooks are a poor investment. First off the Chromebook is nothing more then a Chrome browser. Call it more if you want, but its the same as installing the Chrome browser on a PC or Mac. You can access the same apps the same Google cloud services.
Granted the price for a Chromebook is cheap but it most likely will not hold up well to constant use and many schools are spending thousands of extra dollars on WiFi improvements just to handle all those Chromebooks. I never give schools much credit for thinking things through. They see a narrow minded ideal of saving money and never bother to explore the long term effects. Personally I would much rather invest in a Windows notebook with similar hardware to the Chromebook. Then buying Chromebooks. You have the flexibility to still run Chrome browser and use Google services with a PC and you can move in a different direction if that whole Google cloud does not work out.
With a Chromebook your stuck with Chrome OS. Yea, people will tell you that you can install Linux but those ARM processors and poor storage capacity in the Samsung Chromebook which seems most popular in schools is not going to have any flexibility at all. In fact many apps cannot run on a ARM processor even though they are available through the Chrome store. I am not a hater of Chromebooks, I bought a cheap Samsung myself but for the purpose of accessing the web when I travel. Nothing more, I do with it then run the browser. Its fine for that, and I find it affordable for a second device. But for sure, if I can buy a Windows notebook for about the same price. I will be doing that next time.