Implementing a 1:1 initiative provides classrooms unrivaled access to technology, but involves diligent planning and many important decisions. One of the most critical decisions is choosing the right device. Understanding the budget, specifications, and how the devices will be used can help simplify the decision making process, and ensure schools choose the right device for them. Some common questions to ask when evaluating device choices include:
- What apps are required for students to use?
- Do students need access to Adobe Flash player?
- Will this be used for content creation, or more so as a content viewer?
- Will students need to collaborate together?
- Do students need keyboards?
- How long do the device batteries need to last?
- How big can the device be?
- Will this help replace textbooks with digital texts?
- Will this device be used for testing?
- How much can I spend per device?
The list of questions and factors to consider goes on and on. Ultimately, the more of these types of questions schools answer, the easier their decision will be, as certain requirements will help eliminate various device types from contention.
- Cost: Chromebooks usually range from about $250-350 per device, while iPad devices typically range from $500-600.
- Apps: Likely the biggest advantage for the iPad, as there thousands of apps to choose from for education. However, iPads do not support Adobe Flash Player and Google Classroom for iPads does not have all of the features you’ll find on Chromebooks.
- Battery Life: iPad batteries are capable of lasting the whole school day, usually lasting 9-10 hours depending on what their being used for. Alternatively, Chromebooks may require a mid-day charge if they’re being used all day, with the typical battery lasting 6.5-7.5 hours.
- Size: Chromebooks typically have an 11.6” screen and weigh over 2 pounds; iPads typically have a 9.7” screen and weigh less than 1.5 pounds.
- Keyboards: Chromebooks have a full sized keyboard as opposed to the virtual keyboard of the iPad – this could be an important factor in a class that requires a lot of writing.
- Multitasking: Chromebooks allow users to have multiple programs open simultaneously as needed, but iPads only allow users to have one window open at a time.
Choosing a device for a 1:1 deployment is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Understanding the necessary device requirements and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the different device types will help ensure that schools choose the right device for their needs. As always, proper planning will go a long way to ensuring a successful implantation.