I-Pads or Chromebook?



The school I typically teach in has classroom I-Pads for every student. This week I was at another Elementary School in our network and the classroom I was visiting had Chromebooks for each student instead. The primary difference I noticed between the two devices (in the setting of a math classroom) was that students practiced their math skills on apps on the iPads and on websites on the Chromebook. However, as I read the Atlantic article entitled, “Why Some Schools Are Selling All Their iPads,” I thought more about the nuances and assumptions about learning that come from each piece of technology.

When I complete my schoolwork for grad school, I often use my iPad to read my virtual texts–after all, it’s far easier to quickly scroll through, highlight, and take notes, as opposed to my laptop. However, when it comes to writing papers, I have to use my laptop. Typing on my iPad is a major pain and I avoid it at all costs.

The Atlantic article highlighted some interesting comparisons between the two devices in a school setting, stating:

“While nobody hated the iPad, by any means, the iPad was edged out by some key feedback, said Joel Handler, Hillsborough’s director of technology. Students saw the iPad as a “fun” gaming environment, while the Chromebook was perceived as a place to “get to work.” And as much as students liked to annotate and read on the iPad, the Chromebook’s keyboard was a greater perk — especially since the new Common Core online testing will require a keyboard.

Another important finding came from the technology support department: It was far easier to manage almost 200 Chromebooks than the same number of iPads. Since all the Chromebook files live in an online “cloud,” students could be up and running in seconds on a new device if their machine broke. And apps could be pushed to all of the devices with just a few mouse clicks.

Hillsborough educators also tend to emphasize collaboration, and they found that Google’s Apps for Education suite—which works on either device—was easier to use collaboratively on Chromebooks.

“Our goal was [to find out] not really which device was better, per se, but which device met the learning goals,” Handler said.”

In other words, the capabilities of the Chromebook outweighed those of the iPad for educators in Hillsborough, in addition to feeling like more of a “serious” academic device. This article agrees as well, listing three reasons if you’d like to read more.

If I were teaching any class where students would be required to write papers or essays, I’d definitely go with the Chromebook. I suppose we’ll see if a new device becomes the newest trend in Ed Technology.