There was an interesting article in the Irish Independent regarding American schools’ adaption of technology. It appears that Chromebooks are being used in more schools than iPads. Chromebooks are laptops that run Google’s own operating system, Chrome, which is basically an Internet Browser and you require an Internet connection to get much use out of them. The reason that seems to make them more popular than iPads is that they have a keyboard, which allows students to type up assignments, etc.
As far as I know, very few primary schools have Chromebooks but quite a lot seem to have invested in iPads. Is it likely that the same reversal will occur in Ireland? While both Chromebooks and iPads are more useful with a decent wifi setup, Chromebooks really rely on it, whereas you can use an iPad without an Internet connection with most apps. I think, in Ireland, this is the crucial reason why I don’t think the Chromebook is going to have much traction yet.
However, if the government start to provide schools with decent broadband speeds (this is happening in urban areas – check with the PDST technology in Education) and a good wifi set up then you never know what could happen.
For me, I like Chromebooks. They are sturdy, cheap and easy to use devices. They also have a good battery life. The only problem with them is that there aren’t a lot of apps that are made specifically for the Irish primary curriculum. However, they are designed to be Internet devices so I guess that one is only limited by what the Internet has to offer. They also run Flash-based sites and this is essential as most educational web sites require it. iPads have similar problems to Chromebooks but do have lots of apps, although very few of them are based on the Irish primary curriculum. They are certainly good media devices and are great for recording videos and images.