“A lot of us, when we went to school, we were in the kind of classroom where you had 30 students in the classroom. The teacher would have to explain the same thing to 30 students. If you didn’t get the concept, they would just move onto the next. That was the way you had to teach,” said Sheth. “We’re looking at a very different way to learn.”
Sheth pointed to the Oakland Unified School District, which has deployed 10,000 Chromebooks as part of its Urban Promise Academy. “What they’ve been able to do is actually bring in students of varied skill levels and be able to teach them individually,” said Sheth. “They set up what’s called a blended classroom, so they would have the teacher with only about seven students, but then seven other students would be learning from Khan Academy, seven others would be doing a group project and seven students would be assessing their skills to try to figure out where they are at that point in time.”
(Google’s educational software was also the subject of a bit of controversy this week, when the Electronic Freedom Foundation filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Google’s alleged use of student data. Google said it complies with all applicable laws, as well as a student privacy pledge it signed earlier this year.)
Google’s competitors in this space haven’t ceded the turf, however.
As school districts get ready for the 2016 buying season, which starts in February, Microsoft is mounting a counterattack. The software giant, along with its hardware partners, will release a slew of new Windows-powered devices priced below $300. It has also partnered with Lightspeed Systems, a cloud-based device management and software company, to enable teachers to deliver curriculum content, manage devices and share student screens.