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Schools lament shortcomings of Apple's iPad as some opt instead for Chromebooks

post #1 of 386
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Even as Apple's education sales boom, some schools have begun to transition students and classrooms away from the iPad in favor of laptops -- including Google's cheap cloud-based Chromebooks -- as weaknesses have begun to emerge with the tablet form factor.



Some teachers and administrators -- such as those in Hillsborough, New Jersey -- cite the lack of a physical keyboard on the iPad as a major drawback, according to The Atlantic. Hillsborough chose Google's Chromebooks following a year-long trial of both devices.

"At the end of the year, I was upset that we didn't get the iPads," Hillsborough science teacher Larissa McCann told the publication. "But as soon as I got the Chromebook and the kids started using it, I saw, 'Okay, this is definitely much more useful.'"

Others noted that students seemed to perceive the iPad as a "fun" device, while the Chromebooks -- which have a traditional clamshell form factor -- are seen as "work" devices.

Problems have also arisen with the enterprise management features available for the iPad. IT administrators in Hillsborough said that managing Chromebooks, which act as essentially modern-day "thin clients" for web-based services, was significantly easier than managing the equivalent iPad deployment.

Other school districts have cited similar issues when shelving iPad initiatives. Houston, Texas suburb Fort Bend pumped the brakes on a $16 million iPad-centric education technology rollout late last year, and the Los Angeles Unified School District modified its own $1 billion operation in July to mix in Chromebooks and Windows laptops.

"Students were more comfortable on the laptop because of the amount of writing and the size of the screen," East L.A. Performing Arts Magnet Principal Carolyn McKnight said at the time. "It was really hard to see the whole problem on the iPad."

The choice of which device to use is likely to come down to the needs of each school, North Carolina teacher and administrator David Mahaley said.

"You'll probably never find the answer of what is the right device," he said. said. "First you have to ask: What do you want the device to do for your children?"

Apple has unabashedly touted the iPad's success in the education market in recent years. CEO Tim Cook said during the company's last earnings call that Apple sells 2.5 iPads for every Mac to education customers, while the iPad accounts for more than 90 percent of the tablets in education.
post #2 of 386
I would tend to think that if Apple is pushing iPads for school or work deployment, a keyboard case/stand would be standard issue. And if it's not, that's a failure of their marketing. Maybe this is the sort of thing they need IBM to help them wrap their heads around.
post #3 of 386
Isn't our education system in the US bad enough as it is?
post #4 of 386
The chromebookes used in my 13y/o nephew's school system has been a disaster. My nephew always approaches me to help me diagnose/fix his chromebook, resolve WiFi connectivity issues, and spends more time getting fixed (under warranty) than he gets to use it.

Is this what the school system thinks is "useful"?
post #5 of 386
Weird comparison... if they wanted the "work horse", then they should have bought MacBooks and not iPads...
post #6 of 386

If they think iPads have shortcomings, wait till they try Chromebooks. Chromebooks only give you the web, and no programs at all. If keyboards are the issue, that would have been a cheaper solution.

post #7 of 386

My son (two years old) uses a 7" Kindle Fire HDX for learning/alphabet/phonics games. It works perfectly for him because at his age, touch is everything -- and it only cost me $145 new. I can understand the the limited use of tablets (somewhat) in lower grades, but once you start getting up into the middle school/high school grades, a laptop makes infinitely more sense IMHO.

 

My wife is a second grade teacher, and they have iPads in her grade level that are shared between the four classrooms (only one classroom can use them at a time). The school district basically got some money, bought the iPads and the rolling cart that they use to charge them up overnight. THAT'S IT!! They got some money and said, "Hey, let's buy some iPads." 


There's no curriculum based on using the iPads

No guidelines

No approved list of apps

NOTHING

 

They basically just threw the iPads at the teachers and said "Make sense of this." As if teachers don't have enough on their plates already than to muck around though the sea of free/fremium apps on the App Store to find something relevant to their students.

post #8 of 386
Is this another case of an anecdote being extrapolated out to mean DOOM for the iPad? If not then I think it's more evidence Apple is working on some sort of an "iPad Pro" that's suited for productivity. Perhaps the IBM partnership is more evidence.
post #9 of 386

Gee, I really like my car, but I noticed there's no propeller on the grill.  Duh.  That's because your car is not an airplane.  If the school wants a computer, typically used to create content, they should have purchased computers.  The iPad is primarily a content delivery system.  Don't try to make a device something it's not.

post #10 of 386
Lack of knowledge of administration and the fact you could add a bluetooth keyboard to an iPad obviously had something to do with it. Anyone who knows about iPads and using them in a corporate or school environment should know about how to administrate them properly. Obviously the schools IT has no clue or they would not have run into the problems they claim.
Chromebooks are glorified Network terminals that have no software. I honestly don't see how those actually worked better except they are cheap pieces of crap at about $300.00. That's what those schools were looking for not something that would actually work in a classroom.
Can't wait to hear about the many complaints that will come in when most of them fail, fall apart, or get infected with malware and viruses. Cheap is as cheap does which isn't a whole lot of anything.
post #11 of 386
If I were in school today, I'd rather have a MacBook Air.

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post #12 of 386

iPads are probably best for elementary school but in middle school is probably better to have a full keyboard and even a mouse so the Chromebook is reasonable machine for that. By the time the students enter high school they are going to need a full fledged computer. In college they should probably have a Windows capable machine even if it is a Mac. I know that many medical schools require Windows. It is good for the student to gain experience on a variety of platforms.

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post #13 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post
 

My son (two years old) uses a 7" Kindle Fire HDX for learning/alphabet/phonics games. It works perfectly for him because at his age, touch is everything -- and it only cost me $145 new. I can understand the the limited use of tablets (somewhat) in lower grades, but once you start getting up into the middle school/high school grades, a laptop makes infinitely more sense IMHO.

 

My wife is a second grade teacher, and they have iPads in her grade level that are shared between the four classrooms (only one classroom can use them at a time). The school district basically got some money, bought the iPads and the rolling cart that they use to charge them up overnight. THAT'S IT!! They got some money and said, "Hey, let's buy some iPads." 


There's no curriculum based on using the iPads

No guidelines

No approved list of apps

NOTHING

 

They basically just threw the iPads at the teachers and said "Make sense of this." As if teachers don't have enough on their plates already than to muck around though the sea of free/fremium apps on the App Store to find something relevant to their students.

 

This would be a very valid point, except that I doubt any more thought went into the adoption of the Chromebooks, how they will be used, what they are good for, etc. It seems more like the standard educational thinking which is, basically, "Hey, we threw some iPads into the classroom without much in the way of planning or support and it didn't revolutionize teaching and learning, so let's throw them out and do Chromebooks instead because they are similarly priced and have a keyboard."

post #14 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmac View Post
 

 

This would be a very valid point, except that I doubt any more thought went into the adoption of the Chromebooks, how they will be used, what they are good for, etc. It seems more like the standard educational thinking which is, basically, "Hey, we threw some iPads into the classroom without much in the way of planning or support and it didn't revolutionize teaching and learning, so let's thrown them out and do Chromebooks instead because they are similarly priced and have a keyboard."


Agreed completely. This is a case of districts getting their hands on money and seeing something "shiny" to purchase without first thinking through how these devices will be properly integrated into the classroom environment.

post #15 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

The chromebookes used in my 13y/o nephew's school system has been a disaster. My nephew always approaches me to help me diagnose/fix his chromebook, resolve WiFi connectivity issues, and spends more time getting fixed (under warranty) than he gets to use it.

Is this what the school system thinks is "useful"?

What can go wrong with a Chromebook other than total failure? It loads a fresh copy of the OS every time it's cold-booted, and generally impervious to viruses and malware (because it loads a fresh clean copy of the OS at boot). I suppose there might be occasional wi-fi connectivity issues but what mobile computer doesn't at least once in a great while? It doesn't get much simpler than a Chromebook.
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post #16 of 386
I've been saying for ages, bring on the 13" iPad. With a keyboard, there could still potentially be big savings and benefits over laptops in education, if Apple made sure of that.
post #17 of 386
The only issue is a lack of proper planning.

If keyboards are necessary then the school district should identify the requirement and include keyboards in the quote.
There are a considerable number of options for mobile device management for Apple iOS devices. Management of mobile devices is another requirement that school districts need to identify prior to general release.
Screen size ...
Mouse ...
Purpose (computer programming education, eBook-based curriculum, traditional supporting role such as documents, presentations and spreadsheets, visual arts & media education, etc.) ...
Use Restrictions ...
Apps ...

These are all planning issues. Seemingly, school districts are buying a solution without having identified a problem.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 8/6/14 at 10:30am
post #18 of 386

Why this wasn't obvious from the start is a mystery to me.

 

The iPad, as complex and wonderful as it is, is not really ready for prime time. Never has been imo.

 

Great for content... not quite up to the task (yet) of workhorse.

 

I give it another 4 or 5 years. Tops.

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post #19 of 386
Schools are an archaic concept. They are publicly funded babysitting services with marginal utility for learning. Anyone who can afford it should either homeschool or go with a private school. I have a suspicion that everything one learns in grade school through high school could be learned in less than half the time with a concentrated learning environment.

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post #20 of 386

Surely the addition of a keyboard is much more valuable that the addition of some useful software, right?  I would validate a discussion about iPad vs. full computer, but I am sorry, I cannot put Chromebook in that group.

post #21 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by b9bot View Post

Lack of knowledge of administration and the fact you could add a bluetooth keyboard to an iPad obviously had something to do with it.

So does price. It is hard to compete with $299 Chromebook that already comes with a keyboard. The variety of apps available for iPad is absolutely astounding, however if the curriculum is heavy on writing and typing, the full keyboard is important. Google Docs is adequate for writing and spreadsheet type tasks. The web is not so good for math though. MathHTML is still too difficult to work with. The math apps for iPad are mostly fun and games type learning. I haven't seen any serious junior high school level math apps, although I'm sure there must be some. Personally, I still think old fashion paper and pencil is best for learning math like in Kahn Academy. Showing your work and drawing graphs and geometry is better than having a computer render them automatically in my opinion.

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post #22 of 386
Wow, they're reaching this conclusion now?!?! iPad is great but for work purposes it in now way substitutes a standard laptop.
post #23 of 386
Had a Chrome Book, it was nice, but so limited only could use the internet on it, NOTHING ELSE! so took it back.. As far as buying pc's for them, guess they want something to work on and fix all the time!
post #24 of 386
Apple (who's always had this problem) should stop pushing "one size (product) fits all" scenarios on schools (or businesses). For their education programs, set up a deal that lets the schools choose the type of device that fits their needs, and have those choices part of the package that can be easily managed, and the total price mostly unaffected.

In my estimation, the ideal choices for a school deal would be any combination of iPad, iPad mini (with or without keyboards), MacBook Air 11 & 13", along with various software and support options.

"One size fits all" has never been a winning solution.
post #25 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmac View Post

This would be a very valid point, except that I doubt any more thought went into the adoption of the Chromebooks, how they will be used, what they are good for, etc. It seems more like the standard educational thinking which is, basically, "Hey, we threw some iPads into the classroom without much in the way of planning or support and it didn't revolutionize teaching and learning, so let's throw them out and do Chromebooks instead because they are similarly priced and have a keyboard."

According to the AI article iPads, Chromebooks and in some cases Windows machines were all tested at the same time presumably for the same tasks by some of the schools. Administration, support, screen size, integrated keyboard, perception of it as a work device, along with less expense in both support and upfront costs have all been cited as pluses for the Chromebook. Others here are no doubt familiar with some of the advantages of an iPad over a Chromebook.
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post #26 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post
 

My son (two years old) uses a 7" Kindle Fire HDX for learning/alphabet/phonics games. It works perfectly for him because at his age, touch is everything -- and it only cost me $145 new. I can understand the the limited use of tablets (somewhat) in lower grades, but once you start getting up into the middle school/high school grades, a laptop makes infinitely more sense IMHO.

 

My wife is a second grade teacher, and they have iPads in her grade level that are shared between the four classrooms (only one classroom can use them at a time). The school district basically got some money, bought the iPads and the rolling cart that they use to charge them up overnight. THAT'S IT!! They got some money and said, "Hey, let's buy some iPads." 


There's no curriculum based on using the iPads

No guidelines

No approved list of apps

NOTHING

 

They basically just threw the iPads at the teachers and said "Make sense of this." As if teachers don't have enough on their plates already than to muck around though the sea of free/fremium apps on the App Store to find something relevant to their students.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

The only issue is a lack of proper planning.

If keyboards are necessary then the school district should identify the requirement and include keyboards in the quote.
There are a considerable number of options for mobile device management for Apple iOS devices. Management of mobile devices is another requirement that school districts need to identify prior to general release.
Screen size ...
Mouse ...
Purpose ...
Use ...
Apps ...

These are all planning issues. Seemingly, school districts are buying a solution without having identified a problem.

Having experience at a school that offer one to one iPads, I can not say how right on you both are. The schools can barely afford the technology (and this goes for Windows Laptops, Chromebooks, MacBooks, any and all technology) to begin with, much less have a real clear understanding in the use, upkeep, etc. of all these devices. They do not budget the resources to manage these implementations and ongoing maintenance, so no wonder they are "failing" - It isn't the technology (though that largely becomes the narrative, couldn't be the execution/implementation, could it?) - Sadly, the school districts do not realize that, yes, it is the execution/implementation.

post #27 of 386

The problem is the way schools teach and the way they want students to learn. It seems to me that they've tried iPads and gone back to the same old, same old with a cheap laptop with a keyboard and mouse because it's what they're more familiar with and what they're used to teaching with.

 

The education system needs to change and with the introduction of new technologies now is the time. Teachers and students alike both need to adapt to new teaching and learning tools and techniques and something like the iPad is the beginning of this. What's archaic is students sitting in front of a laptop tapping away at the keyboard, they've been doing that for far too long and it needs to evolve. Touchscreens are the new interface and these need to be adopted in a new way to push education in a new direction.

post #28 of 386

I do understand to some extent where these schools are coming from, but on the other hand I believe that this has more to do with an unwillingness to move forward with technology. Considering that most of these kids probably already have some kind of desktop/laptop situation at home because of their parents, I can't see many situations that would require that much typing at school. For instance, if I were in middle school or high school and was given and iPad, my primary method of taking notes wouldn't be typing them, it would be recording the teacher's lesson with a simple voice recorder app. Or, the teachers could even record themselves with said app and share the audio with every student in their class via Dropbox or Google Docs. That way the entire class lesson can be listened to later and can have much better retention results than typing notes. When you type or write notes you tend to miss things while taking your attention away to do so. With the use of a voice recorder not only would students not miss anything, but it would only require light actual note taking, like maybe in the form of typing out a formula so that you can have a visual to go along with the audio. With that in mind I can't really see anything that a Chromebook could do that you wouldn't actually have a better experience on a iPad. 

post #29 of 386

An easy way to solve this is to just get a portfolio case with a keyboard built in. Then you have both a case an a keyboard. 

 

A Chromebook may seem nice at first, but you'll run into issues down the road, not to mention what apps are you going to use other than Google Docs? At least if you use a Windows tablet you have opportunities to use apps unless its Windows RT. The Google ecosystem is a bad one to get involved with IMO. Yes, Apple's is perfect, but with the way they're organizing things like the Volume Purchase Program, the Device Enrollment Program, and student Apple ID's for children under 13 to me its a no brainer. There are ways around things like keyboards. To me, thats a stupid reason to get Chromebooks. More like, they're just went cheap and got Chromebooks. In the end, it will cost them more to get out of Google's shitty ecosystem. 

 

If there was a way to get the 13" MacBook Air down to around $699 I think it would be a huge seller for K-12 schools. Its just a little more expensive than an iPad, cheaper than a Windows Tablet and will run circles around a Chromebook. The 11" MacBook Air is just too small and useless for educational use. 

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post #30 of 386
Sadly, the reference in the article is to East L.A. school district - Isn't this the district where they had some incompetent IT department. How is Chromebook any better than the Windows based Netbook they could have pushed. I think the author missed the point here.
post #31 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post
 

My wife is a second grade teacher, and they have iPads in her grade level that are shared between the four classrooms (only one classroom can use them at a time). The school district basically got some money, bought the iPads and the rolling cart that they use to charge them up overnight. THAT'S IT!! They got some money and said, "Hey, let's buy some iPads." 


There's no curriculum based on using the iPads

No guidelines

No approved list of apps

NOTHING

 

They basically just threw the iPads at the teachers and said "Make sense of this." As if teachers don't have enough on their plates already than to muck around though the sea of free/fremium apps on the App Store to find something relevant to their students.

This is the same problem with many companies as well, they only budget enough money for hardware and hardly ever take the time to come up with a complete plan on what the objective of the purchase is, how they intend to use the "system," and how they intend to support everything (hardware, software, and personnel). Of course, we've also seen what happens when a school or company tries to do the right thing and hires (what ends up being) an expensive consultant only to find most of the money goes to the consultant. My older brother was the computer teacher several years ago at a middle school until they cut his budget. He's very anal (all older brothers, especially first born are) but took his job seriously, researching everything and making sure everything worked properly. Once he was forced to connect to the administration's office system, everything broke because their IT person couldn't do anything. 

 

Apple can only do so much, and they do a lot if they're asked. It's up to the school or company to get the right people together and not throw money at a solution without first figuring out what they want to do. There are people who are more than willing to help, they just need to be asked before the computers are bought.

 

The problem with curriculum is a chicken and egg problem; curriculum needs to be designed to work on one to several platforms but without knowing what those platforms can and can not do, you can't create the curriculum. As many of us know, books can be like cars, they lose most of their value the minute they are driven off the lot. Unfortunately, many educational books are purchased because someone with the latest idea on how to educate our youth  wants to sell their idea and everyone is forced to buy books and other resources that are only lining the pockets of the author and not always educating anyone.

 

disclaimer: I have 4 brothers, a wife, and 4 sister-in-laws. At one time (some have retired), 3 brothers, my wife, and 3 sister-in-laws were teachers (primary thru middle school). I'm not a teacher although part of my job was teaching people how to use the system we were working on. Teaching is a thankless job and I just wish more teachers were in charge of schools instead of administrators who've never been in a classroom. I also wish more parents wouldn't treat schools as day care.

post #32 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjskywasher View Post

The problem is the way schools teach and the way they want students to learn. It seems to me that they've tried iPads and gone back to the same old, same old with a cheap laptop with a keyboard and mouse because it's what they're more familiar with and what they're used to teaching with.

The education system needs to change and with the introduction of new technologies now is the time. Teachers and students alike both need to adapt to new teaching and learning tools and techniques and something like the iPad is the beginning of this. What's archaic is students sitting in front of a laptop tapping away at the keyboard, they've been doing that for far too long and it needs to evolve. Touchscreens are the new interface and these need to be adopted in a new way to push education in a new direction.

When writing a 15-page research report for you HS class, would you rather use an iPad or a MacBook Air/ThinkPad?
post #33 of 386

Just wait 12 months when these Chromebooks are littered with spyware/malware ect.

 

If a keyboard is a big problem than a school buying in bulk can easily get $40 blutooth keyboards.

 

And what kind of educational software is available on Chromebooks? 

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post #34 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


When writing a 15-page research report for you HS class, would you rather use an iPad or a MacBook Air/ThinkPad?

 

use a $40 blutooth keyboard.

 

That's way cheaper than trying to run touch enabled software on a laptop or chromebook

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post #35 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post


Having experience at a school that offer one to one iPads, I can not say how right on you both are. The schools can barely afford the technology (and this goes for Windows Laptops, Chromebooks, MacBooks, any and all technology) to begin with, much less have a real clear understanding in the use, upkeep, etc. of all these devices. They do not budget the resources to manage these implementations and ongoing maintenance, so no wonder they are "failing" - It isn't the technology (though that largely becomes the narrative, couldn't be the execution/implementation, could it?) - Sadly, the school districts do not realize that, yes, it is the execution/implementation.

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Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took

What I do know is healthcare
and how poorly Managers fair
When they get iPads for free
They just don't know for what they be
post #36 of 386

You can already get DOOM for the iPad... 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/doom-classic/id336347946?mt=8

 

...and it's a great educational tool too!

post #37 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post
 

An easy way to solve this is to just get a portfolio case with a keyboard built in. Then you have both a case an a keyboard. 

 

[]

 

The 11" MacBook Air is just too small and useless for educational use. 

So you say a keyboard for the  9.7" iPad is the solution, however, later you say an 11" MBA is still too small for education purposes.

 

I'm confused. 

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post #38 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmac View Post
 

If they think iPads have shortcomings, wait till they try Chromebooks. Chromebooks only give you the web, and no programs at all. If keyboards are the issue, that would have been a cheaper solution.

 

For starters, online might be all they need for in-class work, anyway.  Secondly, Chrome allows for offline work: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2453999/chromebooks-beyond-the-cloud-everything-chromebooks-can-do-offline.html

 

For my uses, a Chromebook wouldn't be useful but I can see how it could be the right choice for a school.  My wife runs her school's learning resource center and while the kids enjoy the iPads, they are continuing jumping through hoops when it comes to sharing/distributing work and managing apps.

post #39 of 386
I know people here do not like windows but I always thought apple should take a play out of those 3 in 1 windows laptops. Make a dock of sorts for the ipad that the ipad clicks into which turns the ipad into the monitor and the OS switches to OSX. It would be perfect for schools.
post #40 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

So you say a keyboard for the  9.7" iPad is the solution, however, later you say an 11" MBA is still too small for education purposes.

 

I'm confused. 

 

Using iOS and OS X are two different things. The 11" screen on the MBA makes everything very tiny and it doesn't meet the requirements of certain state mandates for testing.  iOS is made for the size of screen its on as are the apps. 

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