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
- Android tablet
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.