For the first semester of this school year, I was again given the wonderful privilege of continuing my blended learning project. This year instead of having a class set of iPads, I had 13 iPads and 10 Chromebooks and it was awesome! It wasn’t quite 1:1 in any of my classes but between the board technology and students bringing their own devices, it worked out quite well.

Now I know that many people will be hoping for a recommendation of one over the other in a post such as this, but in all honesty, I don’t believe one device is superior over the other. They each have their pros and cons and it really depends on the kind of task assigned as to which device the students preferred.

So here are some observations about each device instead:

Pro- the battery lasts a really long time as I found they only needed to be charged two to three times a week
Pro- the camera allowed my students to create some beautiful images and videos
Pro- iMovie is relatively easy to use and most figured it out quickly
Pro- many of my students have iPods or iPhones so were quite familiar with how to navigate an iPad

Con- many students still see this as a device that is for entertainment and I had to spend a lot of time talking about how it can be a productive piece of technology
Con- doesn’t run flash so it was difficult to make infographics
Con- some projects got altered by other students since devices shared among classes (although that provided an authentic opportunity to talk about digital citizenship and respect)

Pro- runs flash
Pro- students appreciated having a keyboard
Pro- Google tools work beautifully
Pro- totally customizable for each student through their Google account
Pro- easy to share among students since everything is saved in the cloud

Con- runs off keyboard shortcuts and many students didn’t even know Ctrl C….
Con- students expected full functioning of a laptop since it looks like a laptop

So I apologize to those of you looking for a reason to purchase one over the other, but I really believe having both was ideal as it gave students the choice and autonomy to use what they felt would work the best for them as individuals based on the tasks assigned. (As a side note: I use web based programs like Edmodo, Google Docs, etc., so that tasks can be done from almost any piece of wi-fi enabled technology.)


8 thoughts on “Chromebooks vs iPads

  1. I appreciate your honest reflections on the iPads and Chromebooks. I think a classroom environment that has a variety of technology is the best scenario… Replicates the real world. Each piece of tech brings its own purpose and functionality to the table. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Really wonderful to read about different tools that are being used in Education. Thank you for your comparison and also for showing educators that iPads are not always the answer. There many tools out there and it is important for us to expose our students to as many different operating systems as possible. I look forward in reading more about your use of Chromebooks.

  3. Agree completely. I love both the iPad and the Chromebook for different reasons. Seems to be that (in our elementary schools at least) we’re sill trying to help people see that a variety of devices to suit multiple purposes is he way to go.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. First, I will state that I am a Mac fan. From a technology standpoint, I think flash is on the way out, so it is more of a software and web developer issue. If I was developing something I would want it to work on the maximum amount of devices on the market. I agree with you on some people still considering the iPad an entertainment device. My district has been overly cautious with implementing them. I think as people start to produce real work on them this opinion will change.

  5. I’m glad to see this wasn’t a marketing campaign post! We really need to focus on the task first, then choose the best tool. One consideration that isn’t related to functionality but is relevant is cost given the nature of school district budgets today. I also have a question. Could you elaborate on your comment about the Chromebook being keyboard shortcut driven?

  6. I really enjoyed this post, especially since I just did a small presentation on iPads the other day at a Staff Meeting, and many of these points, I discussed as well. I think that tablets and computers both serve their functions, but they often don’t serve the same function. This is what makes the combination of different devices so wonderful! I can’t remember who blogged about this, but I completely agree.

    As we discuss technology in the classroom, I can’t help but wonder what you think about a 1:1 environment. Even with different devices, do you think everyone needs his/her own tool? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. It’s something that I think about a lot!


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