Here at Isometric we are often asked “which device is better: the iPad or the Chromebook?” However, this is the wrong question to be asking because iPads and Chromebooks are two different devices that serve different purposes.
A couple of years ago teachers and parents were skeptical about the use of technology. Now it’s in most classrooms and the possibilities are seemingly endless. There are many decisions to consider with the use of either device. The number one decision being: choosing which one is best suited for your child’s learning.
Why Chromebooks are Attractive for your Child
- Price – Lower entry point
- Management – Easier to maintain plus Google offers enterprise-level management tools as part of Google Apps to manage large amounts of Chromebooks
- Google Drive and Docs – Chromebooks can use cloud storage from Google, and Docs to work offline on documents
- Built in security – Anti-virus and disk encryption are built in
- Support – Get 24/7 support from Google
- Shareable – Chromebook is a better choice if you’re going to share your device with anyone else. When you set up a new iPad, your Apple ID is associated with it, and there’s no way to set up multiple accounts. Anyone who uses your iPad will have full access to your data and apps, and there are many situations in which that isn’t ideal.
- Keyboard – needed for most tasks, is a necessity
Chromebook Challenges in Education
- Deep applications – Anything that requires a big app or processing power is going to be hard to come by
- Unreliable Internet – If you have challenges with Internet connectivity, Chromebooks can be a challenge
- Lack of browsers – Some applications are browser dependent. Chromebooks run Google Chrome only.
- Hardware – Projectors, scanners, anything that you might connect to the computer.
Why iPads are Attractive for your Child
iPads are based on iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system for iPads and iPhones. Apple is the sole provider of any iOS device. You can only buy and get support for iOS devices from Apple. The key positives about iPads are:
- Students love them – students get excited about using them
- Battery life – device will make it through the whole day without dying, essential for school use.
- Lots of Apps – The iPad has the ability to interact with a variety of apps. Educational apps keep growing.
- Education focus – Apple has a long tradition of supporting education, no need for textbooks.
- App marketplace – Apple maintains a large app ecosystem, and a high level of security for the marketplace.
- Security – Apple has a strong security platform in place.
- Apple TV –Use Airplay to share screens on projectors or TV’s.
- Communication tool – allows students who are shy to ask questions to teacher or other students.
- User – friendly to students with disabilities
- Fast and easy to use
- Lightweight and portable – easier for students to carry.
iPad Challenges in Education
- Price – premium
- Potential to be distracting – students could wonder to other sites
- Typing can be frustrating
- Control – Using Microsoft or Google management tools is difficult. Fitting device management into your larger plan may be a challenge.
- Inter-operability – If your school is not Mac focused, iPads may be a challenge.
- Doesn’t support Flash – lack of ability to work with Adobe – a lot of content in schools and websites are dominated by Flash.
- No USB Port
- Can’t multitask – windows can’t be kept open side by side
When making a decision on whether the iPad or Chromebook is best suited for your child there are a number of considerations to keep in mind including: price, usability, battery life, intuition, quality, purpose, manageability and shareability.