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iPad or Chromebook: What's the best option for the classroom?

Posted by: School Jotter Team
Category: Technologies

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As the world develops and technology becomes more and more part of our daily lives, it’s essential that both primary and secondary schools acknowledge and embrace the constantly developing digital world. Technology within the classroom provides teachers with new and exciting ways of teaching as well as new ways of allowing students to learn. Many schools now manage their day to day running using Virtual Learning Environments, however it’s essential that they’re continuously looking to the future to ensure they keep up with constantly developing technology.
One thing that schools are doing is providing its students with their own portable device. By providing students with a portable device, it can both excite and engage them as they’re using something that they are not only comfortable with but something they enjoy using. A recent Childwise report indicated that of the 8.6 million children aged 5-16 in the UK, 73% have a laptop, PC or tablet”. A somewhat shocking but unsurprising statistic highlights how children are now growing up in the digital world and why it’s essential that schools embrace technology to create the best opportunity for students to learn.
Despite the common availability of Laptops for many years, it took the release of Apple’s iPad to really kick start the portable device phenomenon. The iPad was described as a revolutionary technology when it was first released back in 2010. It rapidly grew in popularity to become an essential part of so many people’s everyday lives. However, in recent years, Google’s Chromebook has grown in popularity within the education sector despite poor commercial sales. It seems that many schools are now opting to choose it over an iPad.
Initially iPads were designed for browsing the web and accessing apple’s plethora of apps and it was seemingly an after thought that people may want to use the device to write on. Because of this it’s nigh on impossible to easily write anything of length using its touch screen keyboard. This inability to type up longer pieces of work hinders the iPad’s overall usability within schools, whereas Chromebooks are essentially normal laptops with normal functional keyboards. This, combined with access to various pre-installed and free programs such as Google Docs and Google Books, it shows just how useful the Chromebook can be within the classroom.
Another reason why the education sector are now considering a Chromebook instead of an iPad, is down to cost. In a world full of constant cut backs and money saving projects, costings have to be looked at and assessed. A standard Chromebook is significantly cheaper than an iPad and for the saving, you are getting something that is more practical and functional for a classroom.
Each device has a seemingly never ending list of positives and using either can only be a good thing for schools and their students, as they allow instant access to a never ending source of information and knowledge. However, when it comes to which device is the more practical solution, for most Schools it would probably be the Chromebook. The iPad’s flexibility and ability to be transformed into a video camera, a musical instrument among other things is widely useful, however a Chromebook is cost effective, simple and functional and this is likely to be what most schools will be looking for from their choice of portable devices.