Mathemateers and their Chromebooks

Something I’ve not mentioned too often in my posts about my remedial group: the Mathemateers, is that each of them have a Chromebook.

A Chromebook is a complete non-event as a device. All it does is provide seamless access to the online materials you need to use to educate your children.

So I’ve previously written about using Khan Academy and Google Classroom to give my children meaningful homework and challenging practice. Seamless. Khan Academy and Google Classroom just work.

And here’s the thing: my school owns the devices, yet I let the children take them home. How can that be? Where is the safety in that? The management console in Google Apps allows me to enforce safe search in both Google and Youtube. I’m pretty confident that the Chromebooks are the safest device the children have at home.

But it must be an effort managing that sort of thing? No. Not really. It’s less time than marking a set of books and moreover my technician in school spends no time managing Chromebooks. He spends some time distributing apps to iPads and considerable time managing our Windows network, but no time managing Chromebooks.

I’m going to be speaking in more detail about how ace I think Chromebooks are at the Google Education on Air conference at the start of May. Here’s the details of my session. Even better, the Mathemateers will be there in person, through the power of the Google Doc. Might see you then.

The Pros of iPads and Chromebooks

Having spent the previous three posts musing on the destructive arguments of favouring one device over another, I thought I’d spend a few moments listing what I think are the pros of both iPads and Chromebooks.

Sorry no cons here.

iPads.

  • So intuitive your granny could use one, and she probably already does.

  • Brilliant at multimedia work – take photos, shoot videos, record sounds, apply green screen effects, mix, edit and publish – they’re all-in-one technology perfection.

  • The app store increases flexibility no end – they can literally do nearly anything because of that saying “there’s an App for that”

  • Robust and reliable – good build quality means they last well.

  • Regularly updated – support for the operating system is excellent.

  • Super fast – switch it on and it works within 8n seconds, taking minimal time from lessons

Chromebooks

  • Cheap – chromebooks can be purchased for half the price of a laptop and with cloud servcies such as Google Apps can be just as productive.

  • Flexible – the chrome webstore allows for a wide variety of apps to be used.

  • Easily managed and controlled. With Chrome management, Chromebooks can be setup to suit the exact needs of the user who logs in.

  • Multi-user – a Chromebook behaves according to the login credentials, making one device suit many students.

  • Regularly updated – Chrome Os is updated frequently, meaning that it gets better over time.

  • Super fast – switch it on and it works within 8 seconds, taking minimal time from lessons

iPads are inherently evil

To understand this post you really should read this previous one first.

Of course, iPads aren’t actually evil, but let’s just pretend that they are.

Let’s start with the money. All those hundreds of pounds for a device produced in Chinese factories where working conditions are at best questionable. And then you get it and it can’t connect to the wifi particularly well.

And speaking of money, Apple only pay 2% tax in the UK. 2% on 7.4 billion profit, when corporation tax is in the region of 24%. That means they could be paying another 1.4 billion – roughly an iPad for every Primary school child in the country.

Then there’s all the Apps. when you buy an iPad you need to budget for a whole load more money to get the basics.

And the compatibility issues. They virtually don’t sync with anything. Well, maybe a bit with Dropbox. And Google Drive. And some other cloud platforms, but hardly anything. Once your data is in Apple format is it easy to get out? No – I don’t think so!

I mean: what is the point of an iPad?

Chromebooks are inherently evil

To understand this post, you really should read my previous post first.

Chromebooks, of course, are not inherently evil, but let’s just say that they are.

For a start, £200 for something that only browses the web? That is ridiculous isn’t it. For £200, you could buy a decent phone that does the same thing. You could probably spend that money more productively on a camping holiday in Shropshire. Or a really nice bottle of whisky.

Then there’s Google. The company that pay no tax. And they’re the only ones doing it. Not Apple or Dell or any other tech companies, who of course are the model of civic consciousness. I heard someone say that if Google paid their tax, every child in the country could be bought a Raspberry Pi…

And what do Google get out of Chromebooks. They get our data. All that information that tells them how to send us just the right advert to tempt us, to make us spend even more of our money.

And there’s the World Wide Web itself. That vile world of http which is about one quarter porn, another quarter gambling and the rest spoof sites and wikipedia.

I mean what is the point of a Chromebook?