The Chromebook’s Achilles’ Heel
Chromebooks are all the rage in education circles these days. I suspect it’s because of their low cost and minimal support requirements. Even traditional Windows and Apple shops are finding it hard to say no to them when faced with rapid demand for student mobile devices and a test friendly platform. Now that Asus and HP have announced Chromeboxes, I foresee a lot of obsolete labs being converted over to ChromeOS.
Minecraft is also taking the education world by storm. MinecraftEDU offers a simple, teacher friendly entry into the realm of online collaborative gaming. With Minecraft camps popping up all over, K12 IT folks had best be taking note because, guess what, Chromebooks won’t run Minecraft. That’s right, the low cost solution to K12 student devices and online testing that’s in favor at the moment won’t run one of the most interactive and engaging collaborative environments to come along for education, ever. Don’t believe that Minecraft is for learning? Watch this interview with John Miller and find out why you’re missing the boat. Minecraft ties into the bigger maker movement and education’s renewed focus on STEM and STEAM. And kids like playing it.
From all accounts, it doesn’t seem like MinecraftEDU, with it’s Java based, 3D Graphics environment will be coming to chromebooks anytime soon, so that leaves few options. We can go back to running Windows clients, with all the overhead associated with that choice. We can pay the Apple hardware premium to run OS X, and run Minecraft in a few select locations (those old labs). Or we can choose the middle path and run Ubermix to get the best of all worlds. Ease of deployment and support, fast boot times, no virus worries, Java and Flash included, the Chrome Browser and thousands of free education apps baked right in. Guess which one I’m leaning towards? Assuming I can convince people #ubermix is awesome that is.
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