I’m back writing on my Google Chromebook again…without a doubt, it is easier to type on the Chomebook than it is on my iPad–unless, of course, I use my iPad Keyfolio from Zagg. I suppose I could dictate to my iPad via the Siri functionality (I don’t think it is actually called Siri on the iPad), and I’m not sure there is voice recognition on the Chromebook.
As I use the Chromebook, I keep coming back to the basic question: Is this the ideal device for education, or are traditional notebook computers or a tablet the answer?
Ultimately, the answer is that the Chromebook isn’t “the device” for education, but I can see it as a potential solution for some things in education.
Although there are exceptions, the majority of computer use that I see in schools is connected to research (web), writing (papers), and creating presentations. There is also the added aspect of testing (computer labs are used for computer-based testing).
The Chromebook can definitely be used for research, writing, and presentations…and with its Flash capacity, it should also be good for most testing. As there is no Java on the Chromebook, some testing services may not work, just as some online services such as Minecraft will not work.
I have a colleague who doesn’t like Rueben Puentedura’s SAMR model, but I think it is generally true. I see how a Chromebook can easily be used as Substitution or even Augmentation; but Modification and Redefinition may be harder to achieve on the device. I can see how this device could easily be integrated into English, Science, and History. Using the Chromebook in math would be more difficult–and I’ve already mentioned how this device isn’t geared for “non-core” courses, such as music, art, physical education, technical education, or Family & Consumer Science.
A traditional notebook computer is also a more difficult thing to integrate in the “non-core,” and the iPad may not run the specific software needed by science and engineering courses like Project Lead the Way (which doesn’t mean that it will always lack that ability). Chromebooks, of course, also lack that ability to run Windows/Mac software. I am not mentioning Android tablets as most of them are widescreen, and lack many of the specialized apps that exist for the iPad in education (particularly in “non-core” areas).
I think the best solution for a school is two-fold (and again, this is my opinion). I think the best personal device for students is an iPad, perhaps with a keyboard case, and then to encourage the school to have carts of MacBooks for those specialty areas in education that need to run specific software.
Chromebooks would be a great fit in a school media center, where teachers bring students to do research. But then again, if every student had an iPad, would you need the Chromebook?
Don’t get me wrong–the Chromebook is a great device (particularly if you plugged into the Google world) and we won’t be returning this device. It is hard to believe that this device..including a keyboard, video camera, and various parts, is only $250. It certainly isn’t the best device for music education–but it would make a wonderful second (or third) device in a family.