Thought on Chromebooks

There has been much talk about the place about how Chromebooks are overtaking iPads in the classroom. Maybe they are. And maybe they do have advantages, such as:

  • cheaper hardware
  • easy to set up and manage
  • multiple users per device
  • works nicely with Google Apps
  • data all in the cloud
  • etc…

However, everything is done through a web browser.  Which to me sounds like a very depressing way to go.

The Wonderful WWW has been transformative (thanks Tim), but displaying everything using a web browser is really rather limiting in the end.  Hypertext Markup Language is not the same as a proper operating system with proper apps.  Which is what you get with iPad.  Which means you can do cool stuff like:

  • make videos
  • do green screen
  • draw with your finger
  • have a proper mail client
  • have 3D animations
  • etc….

Now, obviously all the best iPad apps make use of the Internet to make the experience better.  But making us of http:// isn’t the same as using .html.

Let me use our VLE (run using moodle) as an example.  It runs off a web server, which means it can be accessed anywhere in the world on any platform that has a web browser.  But the downside is that it’s a horrible and clunky experience.  Adding a calendar entry on an iPad versus on a Moodle page is like comparing something easy to something unpleasant.  We use a SIMS plugin so we can enter assessment data and take registers, but the user experience is horrible.  Admittedly, using SIMS on a PC isn’t all that wonderful, but at least it’s a native experience.  A web page isn’t native for anyone.

Which is why I’m thinking that we might need to look at the SIMS Teacher app.  It doesn’t do anything more than what Moodle can, but it potentially does it in a more pleasant way…

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