So, you will all soon come to realize that I am PRO Apple and am very passionate about iPads. This is not to say that I am against any other educational technology! I support any EdTech in the classroom. However, my interest was peaked after reading the title of Tim Holt's EdSurge newsletter, OPINION: Why are we Misunderstanding the Chromebook-iPad Debate. A few months ago, I started attending the EdTech iHub through the DSBN and Brock University and actually saw a Chromebook for the first time. I had heard of them when I was in the Teacher Education program at Brock University, but I had never had the chance to actually try one out or see its capabilities. Overall, I love how the Chromebook still has a touch screen. It is also pretty cool that the Chromebook has apps on it just like an iPad does. It further allows students to work within the cloud using Google Chrome. The most convincing part of the Chromebook is how cost efficient it is compared to the iPad. Tim Holts in his newsletter even comments on how his school went with Chromebook because "low bid is the good bid." Holts explains that the Chromebook sells for about $300, which is about 75% of the low-end iPad.
Now, although the Chromebook does have some interesting features, I still believe that the iPad has more to offer with regards to quality of apps and variety of apps. After reading Tim Holt's EdSurge Newsletter, I am really convinced that the iPad has more unique affordances compared to other EdTech like the Chromebook. Here are 3 reasons based on Tim Holt's newsletter that the iPad provides unique learning opportunities for students:
- The iPad is not a laptop. Holt's explains that one of the most important features of the iPad is its ability to change its interface to match the user's needs. Further, Holt's suggests how crucial it is for devices to meet the needs of students instead of changing the needs of the device to fit the budget.
- Portability and Convenience. Believe it or not, but the iPad actually has the same, if not more, features than the Chromebook. First, it has a keyboard! I actually remember when I first got my iPad and how weird it was to start typing on a touchscreen. However, after a couple weeks, it became more natural and easier to type on. I now type on my iPad when I am at school so that I do not have to lug my Macbook around. Second, the iPad camera itself is easier to take pictures with compared to the camera on the Chrombook since the iPad camera has front and/or rear facing. It would be a lot easier to take an iPad outside or on a field trip to walk around and take pictures with compared to a laptop.
- Apps, Apps, and More Apps!!! Google Chrome can still be used on an iPad. There are now Google Chrome Apps for the iPad. On top of this, the Apple App store is house to over 500,000 educational iPad apps.
To conclude, the Chromebook does offer educational value, but it may not be the most innovative EdTech today. The value of the iPad seems to out way the cost in my opinion.
I enjoyed this picture at the end of Holt's newsletter. It really puts the capabilities the iPad has for active learning into perspective!
Thank you Tim Holt's for a great read!