Any tech tools, resources, recommendations, including the vast world of online learning.

Chromebooks, ipads or convertibles?

Lydia Schultz Teacher Librarian

I'm trying to research which choice would make the most sense for my K to 5 school. We would probably still work on teaching keyboarding with some older desktops, so that isn't really the issue. How well supported are educational (and FREE) websites and apps for all of the machines. I'm concerned about how many use Java and whether that might make iPads less helpful. I have used Google Drive successfully myself, but wonder if students need an email address (which some may not have yet) to use it. Any thought or advice?

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Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

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Think about the learning first. What do you want to accomplish? What tools fit the bill?

If you are looking at web-based stuff only, and school based units only, chromebooks might be a good way to go. I think emails for even young kids should be fine- we want them to learn to write more, anyway, and we should encourage this. Chromebooks also are almost instant on and have good batteries, making power and plugging in less of an issue throughout the day compared with most laptops that only have a charge of 2-4 hours tops.
Ipads are instant on, 10 hr battery life, and there are plenty of apps, free and paid, that can do amazing things. However, if you're sharing the units versus a one to one kind of environment, where are the kids going to save their projects? Will they get the same ipad in the morning?
My kids use iPads as laptop substitutes in school, but it's their device, and it works great. They take notes with audionote, use flipside to construct flashcards and note cards, use iHomework as their planner to keep assignments and due dates straight. (Middle school and high school students) There's less of this need in elementary, and there are great learning games with the touch interface for kids, Khan academy app, and more.

I urge you to think about what you want to do first, and let those goals and what you need to accomplish, and whether you are thinking cloud/web-based issues or app/software based issues, (ie.creating podcasts or movies with an ipad that's more challenging on chromebooks or PC) and then choose the tech that fits with your goals.

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