Life is not a race to be first finished

This is an attempt to record some of my musings about learning and teaching.

Chromebook Trial

Posted by Allanah King on August 28, 2012

I was generously leant a Chromebook to trial for a week and wrote my thoughts around using it for the brief time I had it.

Plus

  • White and cool- roundy edges- solid number. Decent sized screen. Netbook screens and keyboards are just way too small for me to want to go anywhere near so this was good.
  • Built in camera audio record button
  • Used Aviary to record audio but it didn’t stick- could be my inexperience in Aviary.
  • Easy to connect to the web
  • Not sure how but all my bookmarks and bookmarks bar turned up in the right place- I synch between browsers using XMarks and have Google Bookmarks synching with that.
  • Could upload to Picassa/Flickr from flashdrive and presumably from camera card- you could run in to blocking issues using social photo sites like Flickr
  • Google would do the updates for you- no need to install updates
  • As long as students remember to log out it is a device that can easily be passed between multiple users. In my experience children remember the lesson to log out quickly as they don’t want their stuff mucked about with by others.
  • If you were a Google user or Google Apps for Education School it is quite cool.


Minus

  • If you don’t have internet you have nothing- no access to anything- no chance to record anything at all off line.
  • You have to have a Google account before you get started. Google is building more information about you.
  • You can upload photos to Picassa directly from a flash drive but when I went to look at them it said that Picassa isn’t available on this operating system- weird. Couldn’t download Picassa either.
  • You can’t upload a decent sized photo directly to a Google Doc- has to be re-sized first which adds lots of new layers for kids doing it.
  • It’s not very exciting. Unless you spend time personalising your themes and such it all looks pretty bland- not a lot of colour.
  • Chromebooks aren’t officially supported in New Zealand yet. You would have to source them from overseas.

Things you can’t do with a Chromebook.

  1. Skype- I am used to having Skype running in the background for instant collaboration
  2. Dropbox Desktop Drag and drop function but you can access the web version or Google Drive I suppose.
  3. Uploading larger sized photos to Google Docs
  4. AudioPal- can’t embed flash based audio tools for embedding in a blog


Things to Explore Further but ran out of time..

  • Upload video to Vimeo or YouTube- I should imagine creating and editing videos on a Chromebook would be a real mission- all the uploading, buffering and rendering wouldn’t make it a pleasant experience.
  • Printing- Cloud Printing option as you can’t download printer drivers
  • Does it play a Flash based web Digital Object?

Interesting

  • Heavy- what’s in it to make it heavy. You would think it would be light.
  • Keeps my knees warm? Again- what’s in it so that it heats up!
  • No backlit keys- annoying in low light situations
  • Expensive- price similar to iPad so why not get an iPad.


Verdict

  • I like the concept and it is way more useful than the recently fired Kindle Fire.
  • I don’t think I would like it to be my only device. I like to be able to have a choice of pencil, pen, dry erase marker, felt tip pen, crayon or brush. Each best for their own task.
  • In my perfect world I would have a COW of devices to chose from- MacBooks, iPads, iPod Touches, Chromebooks, pens etc. We would have a knowledge of all devices available to use and be able to choose the right tool for the job.
  • The Chromebook could well be part of that toolbox but at a price similar to an iPad I would prefer an iPad.

Thank you CORE for the opportunity to dabble my toes in the water.

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