Mobile Learning Q&A

Annetta Evans's picture
iPads or Chromebooks

We have been asked what we would want if we could have anything we wanted. We are thinking iPads or some other mobile devices. This is a 4-6 school. Or would chrome books be a better choice?

Tim Chase's picture

Chromebooks.  That is ...

Chromebooks.  That is all.

There is probably going to come a day, someday in the future, when you can interact with the web via a tablet device the same way you can with a real browser, but that day is not today.  Apple likes to say "there's an app for that" and when there is an app for that, things are beautiful and the sun shines.  If you are in an elementary classroom and you have a good app that a classful of kids can log into to increase their learning or practice fundamental skills, or even demonstrate mastery of a skill, that's great.  If you venture out onto the internet, though, outside of the world of apps, you find that you're in a tool that is only built for viewing, not participating.  Web2.0 was coined in 2005 as the world lurched forward irrevocably into user-editable webspaces, but iPads didn't get the memo.  iPads still obey the Web1.0 model of "look but don't touch."  

The keyboard is the other killer for iPads.  Again, not a big deal if you're elementary so typing is a chore anyway, regardless of keyboard, or if typing isn't relevant to student learning and demonstrating mastery.  But at the higher grade levels, tablet keyboards are a problem.  I have a great keyboard for my iPad, but it's still not a good solution if I'm going to be typing much.  

The Chromebooks take to the internet as if it was MADE for them.  Or as if they were made for it.  And the keyboards are excellent for young hands.  Aside from any cost-factors (Chromebooks win), Total Cost of Ownership (Chromebooks win), ease of pushing out domain-specific apps and permissions (Chromebooks win), Chromebooks win for how they interact with the internet and the inclusion of a quality keyboard.

Colette Cassinelli's picture

Can you use ...

Can you use both?

Chromebooks are great for sharing devices if you are in a Google Apps school. There are a lot of Chrome add-ons and extensions that give you a lot of options beside the basic Google Apps tools.

iPads are better for personal devices and have a lot more creative apps for use.

Jennifer Scypinski's picture

I would go with iPads or ...

I would go with iPads or another tablet device over Chromebooks or laptops for the creativity peice. The  ease of creating movies, podcasts, screencasts, digital stories, and interactive posters is a huge positive for these types of devices. Productivity activities, such as writing, may not be as easy as with Chromebooks, but students of this age would very quickly adapt and you would find that this is really not a barrier. 

Jeff Kurtz's picture

The correct answer is ...

The correct answer is both!

Shawn Daley's picture

I think that you need to ...

I think that you need to really contemplate the wide range of what you want to do.   Chromebooks may be more cost-effective but are not necessarily as intuitive as a touch screen.   Yet, the Chrome store is doing a great job of making alot of Apps available to students for free.  My students have been able to create and edit videos on Chromebooks, can share documents, presentations and spreadsheets, and do alot of creative work with drawings, collages, paintings, etc.   I think that in terms of creativity it is almost a "PUSH" at this point. 

What I love the most about Chromebooks however, is that they don't have to be assigned to a singular student.  If I have a lab, the student can simply sign in with their Google address and they are in their account.  iPads require me to rethink how a lab works and kids don't have "accounts" via iPads, almost mandating that you go 1 to 1.  That is a great strategy on Apple's part which is different financially for schools.  Google solved this with Google Apps for Education and their interaction with Chromebooks. 

 

Don't get me wrong -- I have 5 ipads and I LOVE them and think they have a great use in education.  Kids love them and they are very easy to learn.  I just think that if you were budget conscious and trying to do alot of education related tasks, Chromebooks may be the way to go. 

Tracy Anderson's picture

Our district has iPads for ...

Our district has iPads for 5th grade.  Next year those students will be coming to 6th grade and will have iPads.  The 5th graders next year will have iPads. Eventually, the thought is 4th grade will have them as well.  The thought is that iPads are great for the young grades and not so much for the older grades as they will have laptops in the next couple of years.  

It is not about the device.  It's what are the students going to learn by using a device.  Ask--How is the technology going to help students learn?  If you are using it just as an electronic worksheet, then you don't need a device.

Dain Nelson's picture

When purchasing a ...

When purchasing a classroom set of devices, I was told I had to get iPads because the district was already doing iPads elsewhere. My initial judgments have held true as I've begun using the iPads in class. Open platforms, like Chromebooks or Android tablets, offer greater flexibility and customization. Students can do more and solve their own problems. iPads are more focused, or limited, depending on what you are trying to do. This makes the excellent for younger students or first-time users. But they are also very frustrating for someone who is accustomed to being able to troubleshoot their own problems, only to learn that Apple doesn't believe in that kind of thing. I am enjoying using the iPads with high school students, but I believe Chromebooks would be more appropriate for almost any class beyond elementary school.

Colette Cassinelli's picture

Can you use ...

Can you use both?

Chromebooks are great for sharing devices if you are in a Google Apps school. There are a lot of Chrome add-ons and extensions that give you a lot of options beside the basic Google Apps tools.

iPads are better for personal devices and have a lot more creative apps for use.

Lisa Schmidt's picture

At the high school level ...

At the high school level and teaching English, I would love to have Chromebooks over iPads.  I think it definitly is relative to what grade level you are teaching and the content area for making this decision.  In the end, what is it that you want students to produce?  That should help guide your search.

Dena Morosin's picture

We are in the SAME ...

We are in the SAME situation... Would love to hear from everyone