Samsung ChromebookI skimmed through my Google Reader this morning and noticed an eye-popping headline from Larry Ferlazzo’s blog, “Google Offers $99 Chromebooks for Education.” I was excited, but running late, so I decided to come back to the post at lunch time. Surely a few hours wouldn’t make a difference.

Turns out it didn’t matter. Cause if I had looked into it at 7 AM this morning, I still would have been too late…

Google isn’t actually offering the Chromebooks for direct sale at this price. Instead, they’ve partnered with Donors Choose to allow teachers to request the laptops, as part of a classroom project, at the discounted price of $99. It’s unclear whether Google is footing the bill for the extra $150 or whether there is some third party benefactor. Donors Choose does incorporate grants from other organizations, so it’s possible the money is coming from there.

The other fine print is that you can only request up to 30 Chromebooks in a single project. That’s a full class set.

Anyhow, that would have been just fine with me. I have a Donors Choose account in good standing, and I have a funded and completed project. As soon as I read that, I was ready to head over and set up a new project. Heck, if I didn’t get funded, I’d consider spending a few hundred bucks to “fund” my own project and get the discounted netbooks.

But, alas, I couldn’t. As of 11 PM last night, Donors Choose stopped accepting new projects requesting Chromebooks. The demand had completely outstripped supply. I’m not really surprised. When Google was selling the Chromebooks (at $249), they almost immediately went out of stock at the Google Play store.

Why wouldn’t you expect them to sell out now, considering that teachers aren’t even buying them – they’re just setting up a project to request them? And that they did. In less than 24 hours.

According to the Donors Choose website, they may make more Chromebooks available in the next two weeks. You can fill out a form with your e-mail address and request to be notified if that happens. You can access the form here.

I left my name, and I’ve got my fingers crossed. We’ll see…