- They're cheaper than iPads. You can buy a decent Chromebook for around $300. Some are cheaper. Compare that to the $500 cost of an iPad which doesn't include a case or any apps.
- They have a physical keyboard which is important for our students in grades 2-5 who are writing more than a few sentences. I once thought that this generation of students would grow up getting used to the on-screen keyboard and that it was only a liability for my generation and older. I no longer think this. Touch screen keyboards just aren't ergonomic. And don't get me started on auto-correct.
- Because they run on Google's operating system, they work seamlessly with Google Drive and the new Google Classroom.
Shortly after I received my first work-issued iPad in 2012, I spilled a cup of tea on my MacBook, which killed it. I decided to make the iPad my primary computer and it worked most of the time. In recent months, though, I was getting frustrated with some websites that didn't work well on iPads. And our district intranet will only let you pass through its gates if you use the antiquated Internet Explorer browser. So I found myself more and more borrowing my daughter's Chromebook or husband's PC to do things I needed to do. (Plus when my 4-year-old saw me working on my iPad he would launch into a tantrum because I wouldn't let him play games on it). Thus, my husband ordered me the Dell Chromebook. I still have difficulty getting into the intranet but there's an IE plug in that works MOST of the time.
Last Christmas, a friend asked what a group of us thought of the gift idea of handmade USB drive cases. Politely, we responded with something along the lines of "What's a USB drive? #googledrive4ever!" As a GAFE district (Google Apps for Education) all of our students and staff members automatically get 30GB of cloud storage. If you buy and register a Chromebook, you get 100GB for two years. No more worrying about losing or damaging precious thumb drives. The files you need can be accessed anytime, anywhere, on any device. You can upload pictures and videos to the cloud.
So this year, I'll still be using the iPads a lot with my K-2 students because they have sturdy cases and I like being able to do a lot of "hands on" and "visual" activities with them. Plus, the Gumdrop cases they're enclosed in make me feel more confident putting them into small hands. Grades 3-5 will make the leap to Chromebooks this year. Their cases are more delicate and the screens can be damaged if not opened carefully. We're going to start this week with this video about Chromebooks. If you want to know more, I encourage you to watch.
I almost forgot! I learned last week that Google Drive has an amazing built-in research tool that automatically imports citations when students use websites or images.