Summary: iPad is still the king of creation tools. Chromebooks are great replacements for laptops due to cloud computing.
I just bought a Chromebook this week so I would know if it was a viable alternative for the iPad in my BYOD classroom. Here are my initial thoughts.
Light weight: Weighs less than my Griffin encased iPad.
Inexpensive: I paid $199 at Wal-Mart. iPad minis run $329 at time of posting.
Simple to use: Open it up, connect to a wireless, sign in to your Google Account, and your off and running. No Windows OS to make things complicated. Nothing to set up.
Quick on: open it up and it’s on!
Keyboard: feels right.
Track pad: two finger scrolling, decent size
No case needed: I may change my mind on this, but doesn’t seem as fragile as the iPad.
External ports: 3 USB, Ethernet, and VGA for external monitor or projector. iPad has that dongle thing for connecting to projectors but it pops out super easily.
Can create/edit using Google Apps. You may only work on Docs and Spreadsheets when using an iPad.
A ton of free apps available through the Chrome Store.
Can play Flash.
WAY more educational apps: Games, student response apps, utilities, etc.
Two Cameras: Front facing and back side. Chromebook only has the front facing.
Creativity: Video, photography, stop motion, etc. The only way I can see to do this on Chromebook is to use the front facing camera, which would be super tricky.
Drawing: Use a stylus and draw on the screen, or even use your finger. Chromebooks are track pad or mouse controlled, not touch screen. Drawing would be very hard.
Digital portfolios: I use Three Ring a lot. iPads are perfect for capturing student work samples using the camera and mic.
Stronger speakers: As weak as the speaker is on an iPad, it’s better than a Chromebook. I can barely hear the speakers on the Chromebook.
Display: Greater visibility.
Parental Control: Parents can control a lot through the restriction settings. I don’t see a way to do this with the Chromebook.
I will be recommending devices to families in my BYOD class this next year in the following order of preference:
Latest full-size iPad
Latest mini iPad
If families can only afford a Chromebook, then it is definitely better than nothing. I do NOT see a Chromebook as a replacement for an iPad, but I do think it’s a great replacement for a laptop. I am using my Chromebook right now to write this post. It’s so simple for getting online and keyboard input. It’s not something I see as a creative tool for student projects, other than the fact that students can work on Google Presentations using a Chromebook. I love the fact that the computer is just ON right away, and for those who understand cloud computing, there’s really no reason these days to buy a full-blown computer with a large hard drive. I value your input so please leave a comment.
Teacher Rebecca Wildman and her principal Fred Sitkins are changing the face of education through their use of iTunes U for elementary students in Michigan and around the world. Watch as they explain the endless possibilities of this eduawesome platform.
iPad PD Rebecca and Fred’s website where they house their iTunes U courses and a whole lot more!
My brother Scott, 2013 Orange County Teacher of the Year, was hanging out at a park in Irvine with his wife and son and happened upon some teams of college students involved in The Solar Decathlon. This is a national competition between university engineering students to see who can design and construct the best state-of-the-art home.
Scott is always concerned about how he can enrich the education of his students, so he initiated a relationship with a student team from Santa Clara University. This partnership resulted in Scott’s class conducting regular Google Hangouts with the students who were working 500 miles away. Scott’s class prepares for the Hangouts by doing research and preparing questions. Members of the SCU team share presentations using the screen share feature and take the kids on virtual field trips through the 2009 house as well as the current construction site.
Scott graciously allowed my class to join in on the hangouts and several other classes from as far away as South America have begun watching the broadcasts. Students get to see the progress and appreciate the vast amount of work that goes into designing and constructing the Radiant House. Students from Scott’s class and my class have also been engaged by the college engineering student team through quiz questions and opinion polls which give the kids input on team decisions. The SCU Google Hangouts have been recorded and archived on YouTube. SCU Solar Decathlon has a Facebook page as well.
This cutting edge pedagogy is attracting the attention of the media as well. The Orange County Register (Irvine World News) and CBS News in the Bay area (see video below) have done stories on the Google Hangouts.
Watch Alex’s engaging discussion with Tim and Scott on the latest episode of The Bedley Bros. EdChat. Alex, the 2009 California Teacher of the Year, shares ideas from his new book Teacher of the Year Handbook. Both of the Bedley Bros. also share a quick tip for teachers. Whether or not you are in the running for Teacher of the Year, educators will benefit from this lively interview with the Rappin’ Mathematician.
Last week, Jordan, one of my fifth grade girls, was caught doing something without permission! AND I LOVED IT!
Jordan’s classmate, Koral, was on a trip out of town to attend a funeral. During our book clubs (literature circles), I noticed that Jordan had propped her iPad up in front of her and was talking to Koral on FaceTime. Jordan knew that our class was a safe place to try something new. She also knew that I would approve of anything she did that enriched her education or that of a classmate. So here is Jordan reading Chomp to Koral, separated by a measly 1000 miles.
What is APP-athy? The point where you just can’t stand the thought of adding one more app to your iPad. There are now over a quarter million iPad apps. It’s impossible to keep up with them all. How many drawing apps do I need? Where did I save that picture of the kids? iCloud? Dropbox? Google Drive? Ugh.
It’s important to stay on top of the latest and greatest; however, there comes a point where the cost of change is not worth the upgrade. There are lesson plans to write, new children’s literature to read, and naps to be taken. Think about how many apps you’ve downloaded that you’ve used only once, or perhaps never at all.
Don’t sweat it. It’s ok that there are new educational apps that you’ve never heard of. If that new app is worth using, it will appear on a top 10 list in the days to come.