As the demand for technology increases in classrooms, the Chromebook vs iPad debate has been an ongoing discussion for schools and parents seeking to make the best technological choices for the development of their students and children.
Chromebooks and iPads are currently the forerunners when it comes to portable devices in the classrooms, and each have their advantages and disadvantages. It can be a difficult choice to decide which device is right for your students, so we’ve put together a short comparison to help you with your decision.
The technology used in iPads is unparalleled by any other tablets. The touch screen creates an immersive environment that encourages writing, drawing, and playing educational games. The iPad’s built-in applications such as Pages, Numbers, Swift Playgrounds, and Keynote support learning and creativity, and the device can be easily customised to help students overcome challenges with motor skills, eyesight or speech. You can also access traditional applications that have been modified for use on the iPad, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Chromebooks closely resemble traditional laptops, and inbuilt keyboards/touchpads encourage computer literacy, an important skill in today’s marketplace. Furthermore, Chromebooks in the classroom provide an opportunity for low-income students to have access to a computer for assignments and exams if they do not have one at home. Similar to the iPad, Google has its own set of applications (Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides), and Microsoft Office apps can be downloaded from the App Store.
The glass touchscreen on iPads can be a recipe for disaster in the classroom, and a shattered screen could render the device useless until it’s replaced. Screen protectors and protective cases are a must to ensure they survive the trials and tribulations of daily classroom usage.
Many suppliers have designed Chromebooks specifically for durability in the classroom. As such, many of them can survive drops from up to 1.2m, have rubber edges for shock absorbency, and are spill-and-tamper-resistant. However, if students are able to take their devices home, it is recommended that you purchase inserts or sleeves to keep the device safe in backpacks.
Apple offers discounts for the education sector, making the latest iPad around $469 for 32GB of space. However, additional accessories such as a smart keyboard, Apple pencil, protective case, and screen protector can inflate these costs to $1000+ per iPad.
Costs for Chromebooks can start from $250 for very basic models. However, these budget models may not have the long-term usability that Apple products promise. A more durable and long-lasting Chromebook might cost between $400 – $800. The fortunate thing is that in most cases you do not need to worry about purchasing protective accessories as these features are already inbuilt.
The bottom line is there is not necessarily a right or wrong choice when it comes to deciding between a Chromebook or an iPad for your students. Most of the time, it really depends on your school’s budget and preference, as both devices open the opportunity for creativity and learning, and have a wide range of apps that are vital for students in their journey through years K-12.