Posted by Allanah King on June 20, 2014
“We are just starting with some Chromebooks and wondered which one is the most popular/reliable in schools. We would appreciate any advice. Thanks.”
This led to a conversation around whether you would want more than one device in your classroom.
This got me wanting to further explain my mantra of late- “Use the right tool for the job”.
I liken it to using my kitchen knives. Would you want to limit the use of your kitchen cutlery to only using one kind of knife? And if you were only allowed one knife in your kitchen what kind would you choose to have to do every thing?
Imagine you were trying to cut a loaf of bread with vegetable knife! It would turn out badly with nothing close to the desired result.
If you wanted to carve a roast you wouldn’t choose a bread knife.
Even having something like a Swiss Army Knife with lots of knives built in doesn’t really do the cutting job you want done done properly.
Liken this scenario to your classroom devices. As you are probably aware I am a big fan of using iPads and Google Apps in the classroom but I avoid using ‘the Google’ for anything apart from searching on my iPad ‘cos it is all a bit too fiddly and you loose a lot of the functionality that you get when you are using Chrome on a laptop. I have the choice of devices and I know which one is the best for which task because I have had experience in using them all.
I really need a mixture of devices so I can learn what is the right tool according to our needs. I want Chromebooks for Google, iPads for portability and diversity, Mac Book Airs for power, iPod Touches for portability on the move.
I also want a rich mixture of traditional classroom resources- pens, felts, chalk, pencils, paint, paper, cardboard etc……
To find out what was best for my classroom I would heed more the advice of other teachers and practitioners about their experiences with devices rather than being swayed by the preferences of well meaning tech people who might be good with technology but have little idea of the complexity and challenges of classroom teaching. I get cross when I hear of tech support companies and commercial sellers advising schools of what they think would be the best solution for them. I would rather listen to the advice of someone without a vested interested in selling me something than a door-to-door snake knife salesperson.