The King is Dead. Long Live the King?
Maybe not then, but now?
Today, things are different. The hardware is a lot better, software options are more varied, more plentiful and more capable of accomplishing tasks that we would previously have sent us running to desktop computers. Wi-Fi is everywhere, but we're thankful that it is because more and more of what we do is done online in the cloud because it's convenient, collaborative and can be accessed on any device. Adobe Flash is all but dead and Java applets are no more, so is this the time to finally say goodbye to Windows and MacOS?
On top of that, Chromebooks and iPads are light and mobile. They have all day battery life and a lightweight operating system that is simple to master. They turn on and are ready to go in seconds, they are priced competitively, and both boast some of the best security measures on any device. The iPad also comes with two cameras that shoot hi-res stills and video up to 4K resolution on some models. All of which makes them a very compelling device for schools, or does it?
Wait. Not so fast...
Other tasks that are traditionally not as easy to do on a Chromebook or an iPad include video editing. This task traditionally requires powerful software and lots of system resources. Chromebook users can use the YouTube Video Editor or WeVideo, but they are reliant on an internet connection for uploading all your video clips and you can only get so far with the features that they offer. On the iPad, iMovie is great. It works offline and is capable of editing 4K video, but again you are only going to get so far before you start to crave something like Final Cut, Camtasia or Adobe Premiere. Will it be enough for 98% of your student needs? Probably, but desktop devices are likely still going to be popular with your journalism and art students.
Podcasting is very do-able on an iPad with things like the Opinion Podcasting app, but once you start to think about how to record multiple people in remote locations, you quickly come up against a brick wall. Similarly, recording iPad screencasts is easy with apps like the IPEVO Whiteboard app, but if you want to show someone how to use a specific app, you need a laptop. Screencasting is easier on a Chromebook, but there are not all that many software options and the extensions that do exist have a somewhat limited feature set.
At the end of the day, none of these restrictions are a reason to completely discount iPads or Chromebooks, but they are things to consider. Instead, it really comes down to what you want to do with your students and the learning experiences that you want to create in your school.
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