Wednesday, November 16, 2011

iPads, Chromebooks, on-device apps, cloud apps - great discussions

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled "On device apps/software vs. web apps - which is better for schools?" in which I discussed the pros and cons of on device apps and web apps when it comes to education.
I had made some points about web apps being free, no install required, automatically update, and platform/OS independent.

A while back, I wrote about Google Chromebooks and Chrome OS and why they were a great idea for education. Reasons included no apps to install, no IT support needed, no updates to do, multiple student logins, no student data stored on device, etc. I also prefer a physical keyboard when typing anything more than a quick message or email.

I find that on-device apps are great in many cases, especially if there is a chance of not having internet access, but they are platform dependent, not always free, and have to be installed and updated. Web-apps are free, platform independent (just need a web browser) and no installs or updates to worry about. These days its very hard to find an educational location that does not have WiFi, so that isn't an issue for the most part.
Screen shot 2011 11 11 at 9.55.22 AM 300x161 iPad vs. Chromebook

I just read an article that points out many of these same things, entitled "Can I Trade the iPads for Chromebooks?". The author talks about his school have iPad and Chromebook initiatives and the difficulty of updating and installing apps on the iPads. He also points out how the iPads are difficult to use with multiple students. He also talks about the cost of both. The Chromebooks are cheaper and can even be leased and the iPad requires some accessories, like a case. Then there's the issue of app cost. It's an interesting read.

I would prefer a room full of Chromebooks over iPads, but many teachers will find iPads or other tablets, better for their needs. I prefer web apps because of their cost (free), ease of use, and platform independence. A student can go home and continue their work on any device they have. 

I think that iOS and Android need to have multi-user logins built in to their next devices and have a system to install apps and updates on classroom sets of devices, over the air, from a master device. Any developers want to work on this?

What is great, is that there are so many different devices and systems out there to fit everyone's needs and preferences. 

Which do you prefer? Have you used iPads or Chromebooks in school. 


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