For the price of a 4GB memory stick you can turn most old netbooks and laptops into a Google Chromebook!

That’s all it takes to download Vanilla a portable Google Chrome operating system called Chromium OS.


Most schools I know have many old laptops and netbooks that are not used because they are too slow or clogged up with old programs.

This fantastic program will revitalise that old hardware and upcycle them into Google Chromebooks.

What’s a Chromebook? Simply put, a Chromebook is a mobile computer that features the Google web browser. All your applications and files are stored on the web, where they can be accessed even if you’re away from your computer.

The great thing about Chromebooks is that children (especially younger ones) don’t get access to other programs or files that are stored on the computer and therefore cannot delete or change anything important.

Also if your school has ‘Google Apps for Education’ then this is a very easy way to establish Google Apps as a learning tool with your pupils and staff.

I have seen it in action on some very old and very slow netbooks, I was amazed at the speed of the browsing and how I could still access all my Google Docs online.

It’s a very cost effective way of adding new hardware, epsecially in these austere times and when the most fantastic free learning tools are all available online!

So how about an even more amazing cost-saving idea for school?

Why not buy a Raspberry Pi for £22 and then put Vanilla on it-a Chromebook for school for £30!! Now if only schools could actually get a Raspberry Pi……

Any problems-Please see these more detailed instructions on how to set-up Vanilla here

Although sounds like it’s a lot of trial and error depending on the model of netbook/laptop you are intending to use-luckily Liam McLoughlin the guy behind Hexxeh has kindly agreed to answer any questions you may have-if you give him a tweet-please be patient though as he’s a busy man!

Fantastic free ebook about using ‘Google Apps for Education’ here

Thanks to Andy Bush who gave me this tip and showed me how easy it is to use.

Written by Julian S Wood -"rel="author"
  • Peter

    Brilliant. Going to give it a go.

    • Ideas_factory

      Thanks Pete for taking the time to comment.

      Let me know how you get on!

      Thanks again-Julian

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UK Primary School Future Learning Technologist.I am into Experience and Fun Based Learning.I use web tools to stimulate writing. I've been Playing and Learning since 1970. Have some fabulous ideas now & again.. Check out my profile!
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