Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chromebooks vs iPads

By Jamie Reaburn Weir

This is a re-post by permission of the author.

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.)
About the author: Jamie Reaburn Weir is a high school English teacher from Ontario, Canada who has a keen interest related to technology in education. Her blog is a place where she posts her thoughts, experiences, opinions, and musings about what she is reading or doing in her classroom. Jamie is always looking for feedback or opinions (collaboration is the best way to learn in her opinion!) so please feel free to comment, add suggestions or give her food for thought on the always developing and expanding world of technology in education.


  1. Thanks for the pros and cons list... but the question is:

    "If you had to choose only one technology, what would you pick"?

    1. Because of the full access to Google Drive with it's features and it's affordability compared to an iPad, I'd have to go with a Chromebook

  2. I have often asked the question that Keith poses above, and I have come to the conclusion that the best answer is this: "The one that is available." It's important to keep in mind the purpose of why we need these tools and the goals we have for our students. Knowledge is ubiquitous; we just need to access it, and sometimes that means we have to bypass the front door and find an open window elsewhere.

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog and leave comments.

  4. If I had to go with one over the other it would be the Chromebook. Depending on the the age of the students you are serving, you're going to want them to create documents, presentations, etc at some point and a Chromebook, with it's full sized keyboard, is the best solution to this problem. Also, if you are using Google Tools (i.e. Google Drive) you will not have access to the full features of them with an iPad. One example of t his is not being able to to leave and read comments made to documents on an iPad. You can do this with a Chromebook.

    The fact the Chromebooks are about half the price of an iPad also make it the better choice...imo