Lightweight alternative tech: a study of Chromebooks in the academic library classroom

Beth Seyala, Erin Burns, Shannon Richie, Amy L. Deuink, Valerie Lynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate Chromebooks as an alternative to the traditional computer laboratory for library instruction in an academic environment. The results of this study could help inform the creation of a mobile instruction lab that students and librarians quickly construct inside any classroom with minimal effort and no software to manage. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was distributed to student participants. The survey contained two demographic questions followed by seven user experience questions related to the in-classroom use of Chromebooks; most questions were quantitative in nature. Findings: The majority of respondents (84 percent) strongly or somewhat agreed that Chromebooks were easy to use, and 15 percent of the respondents reported some difficulty accessing the university’s Wi-Fi system while using the devices. Research limitations/implications: This introductory study was limited to a survey population primarily comprised of lower-level undergraduate students in their first two years of study. Additionally, Chromebooks were not tested in an educational environment using G Suite for Education, which could increase the opportunities for use in an academic setting. Practical implications: The study’s findings, combined with the portability and long battery life of Chromebooks, make them a candidate for a mobile instruction lab. Originality/value: This research seeks to explore the viability of Chromebooks as an affordable and easy to manage alternative to wired instruction rooms, using a light laptop technology that is becoming increasingly familiar to college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-562
Number of pages9
JournalLibrary Hi Tech
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 29 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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