St. Paul, Minn. –Google and their Chrome products have seen a boom in distribution and buying over the last year. Schools and districts have been cleaning out Chromebook shelves to try and handle the new normal of virtual learning. With the growing uncertainty of how learning will change and adapt in the future, teachers and IT departments want as much control as they have access to. Chrome Education Upgrade has become the solution to do this.
What is Chrome Education Upgrade?
Chrome Education Upgrade is a platform for IT professionals and teachers in schools to adequately manage devices being used for online learning. The upgrade can block certain websites and applications, turn apps on or off depending on lesson structures, restrict access for unauthorized users, permanently install apps needed for class, gather statistics on what is happening on the devices, and all in all help manage and track a fleet of devices.
On March 9th, 2021 the price of Chrome Management License will jump from $30USD per device to $38USD per device. This may not seem to be a lot upon first glance. Eight dollars is about the price of a typical lunch from a fast casual restaurant. But when buying devices in bulk and needing to manage all of them the price adds up quickly.
This decision has been pushed back multiple times but it looks as though this one is going to stick. The announcement was originally made in January of 2020 that the increase would take place in March of 2020. With COVID-19 and all the uncertainty that followed, Google postponed. It was later announced that the increase would happen in January of 2021, but was eventually delayed again with its final date set as March 9th, 2021.
That being said, districts have pushed up their purchase dates to try and lock in the lower price. This is a wonderful idea in theory but the shortage of devices across the nation has made this increasingly difficult. For more information about the Chromebook shortage see our previous blog here.
Additions and Improvements
On the upside, the price isn’t increasing without cause.. There are a number of benefits that have been and will be rolled out that have added to the platform’s value.
First, over the past year there have been several new Chromebook models released. This includes a number of them that are specifically geared towards classroom use (or virtual learning). This means more specialized applications, equipment, materials, and hardware/software that is made with schools in mind. This means that there is more to keep track of but it can be exponentially more efficient and fine tuned.
Second, Google is expanding the lifespan of their devices. When Chromebooks first launched they only received automatic updates for approximately 3 years. With this update devices can now receive automatic updates for 7-8 years. Why does this matter? Automatic updates help improve efficiency, provide fixes for widespread issues, and help maintain stability and security. This also means that devices won’t need to be swapped out as often and school districts can save money without trying to run on outdated machines.
And lastly, the actual Google Education Upgrade platform has undergone massive additions and improvements. Google now has 200+ policies that administrators can use to manage their devices. This comes in part from listening to the needs of teachers and administrators to best accommodate where they can. Feedback is actually taken into consideration frequently to improve the customer experience. Additionally, the command center is cloud based to make it easier to access and to keep all information in one safe place.
How Does This Affect Me?
If you are looking to purchase Chromebooks for the upcoming school year and want them enrolled in Google Education Upgrade you should buy soon. The price increase for enrollment is less than a month away. This can also impact you if you want to add the Upgrade to Chromebooks you already have.
Vivacity Tech is on course to offer this licence at a discounted price even after price increase. If you miss the deadline or are not able to order before March 9th consider purchasing with us to get a better deal.
Have you used Google Education Upgrade? Do you manage a fleet of devices and use another platform? What do you think of Google’s improvements over the last year or so? Tell us your thoughts and opinions and share your experiences!