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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

ipads or laptops

ipads or laptops

Related Tags: Classroom Technology
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Which is the better choice for the classroom ipads or laptops? Our school is looking into stepping up the technology; up until this year it was laptops...now ipads are the hot topic. Any opinions out there?

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dwarstler3gmailcom - 238356's picture

Sorry about that. Last summer, my school purchased a 30 IPad classroom cart for 6th-8th grades to share, and ran a program where students could purchase one of their own at a discounted rate. Now keep in mind, the faculty were never consulted, ours is a "windows" platform school, and most of the faculty had no training!

What has transpired is, the IPads are seldom used for anything other than doing research or taking notes in class. Our junior high students beg to have the laptop cart back, (that migrated to the 4th and 5th grade classrooms), which was used non-stop last year.

The IPads do not support Adobe, the students have no way of saving info to a thumb drive, they hate having to use Google Docs to store anything, and they do not find the IPads user-friendly, except for playing games.

Now we faculty members are begging the admin to purchase another cart of laptops! [Not sure that's going to happen as another 30 IPads have already been purchased for next year. Faculty still has no training!]

So, my vote would be for laptops, hands down. In fact, I recently asked my 9th grade granddaughter which she would prefer as she has both and she didn't hesitate for a second to say, "I'd take the laptop!"

My 2-cents, for what it's worth!

dwarstler3gmailcom - 238356's picture

Our IPads are stored in a very expensive, safe-like, metal cart, that holds 30. It has a padlock on it with a code that only the teachers know. We keep it unlocked during the day where we're all around and lock it at night. That's not too much of a problem, unless someone needs it unlocked when you're in the middle of teaching!!

Kelsy's picture

It really depends on what you want to use them for. If you are going to be using them for any district testing then I would go with laptops. I would also say that it depends on how your school's network and licensing is set up. We just recently switched to ipads and found we had to buy special licenses for apps for the ipads. Laptops also provide a better word processor then the ipads.

Danielle Smith's picture

I love the Ipads in the classroom! The resources available with Ipad apps are a great addition to classroom instruction. StoryKit and Kidspiration are some of my favorite!

Also there is always the option of adding a few of the Zagg keyboards to the collection so students who want to type can practice with a keyboard.

Good luck!

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

So many discussions about choosing one platform over another gets caught in philosophical reasons, and less about what you want to get accomplished.
The iPad works for my kids in school as a laptop replacement. But it's all about the apps and the fact that it's lightweight and more portable, with a longer battery life, meaning no need to recharge during the day, find outlets, etc. It's also instant on, so no start up time waiting for the machine to get ready. (Chromebooks are lie this as well, but they are basically internet terminals , so keep that in mind as an option as well.)

They use Audionote to record lectures and take outline notes, which then can use later when studying, rehear what the teacher said about an assignment, etc.
They use Flipside to create flashcards and other projects that require 3 x 5 cards (no losing the cards ever this way!)
iHomework and Inclass are used to keep homework and assignments organized, along with reminders to make sure they stay on track.
there are a ton of vocab builders and SAT apps, Khan Academy and more....
There's storylines and comic life to build stories; Prezi, Keynote-
So like anything else- you can use it as an internet terminal, where it is more limited than a laptop because of flash and non-mobile enabled sites....
or you can take advantage of the heaps of innovative software to help kids do more writing in the classroom with apps like maxjournal or Notes; design projects in Design Brief before executing projects, teaching them about the planning process at the same time.
It's never as much about the platform as it is about your imagination and employing the right tool for the right task.

Verdi Huffman's picture
Verdi Huffman
Instructional Technology and Media Resource Specialist for Jackson County School System

Definitely iPads for general classroom use for many of the reasons already mentioned, but they don't totally eliminate the need for laptops, or for that matter, desktops within the school setting.(labs, etc.).

sutho56's picture

We have just gone down the iPad path. There is a lot of back room setup required - they are essentially individual consumer items being forced to fit a large education system with all the authentication protocols that are required. Staff have enthusiastically embraced their introduction. See many potential benefits to out weigh the difficulties.

Gabrielle's picture
Gabrielle
Parent 4th grade in Palo Alto, CA

We have both. A laptop cart that the kids put the laptops back into works great. They charge in the cart and don't live in the classrooms. The cart is assigned by schedule to the classrooms. Also, we have pod areas that the kids go to for computer time outside of the classroom. Google docs is used and is just great. Raz-Kids is an excellent web based leveled reading program for kids from K/1 up to at least 5th grade. The i-pads are fun for the kids as well so the answer is both.

JoEllen Potchen-Webb's picture
JoEllen Potchen-Webb
Special Educator in an Alternative High School in St Louis, MO

[quote] My one caution...our state is quickly moving towards computer based assessments and you need to makes sure that whatever you buy will support those types of requirements! [/quote]
I think this may be the essential question for what is chosen, for many districts and schools.

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