By: Ava Bird
For us students, using iPads for school every day is what we’re used to. And many of us are perfectly okay with it. But there are also those who recognize the downsides that come along with using iPads for our learning – and there are a lot of downsides.
First of all, almost every mobile application is different from its desktop counterpart, and when on a Chromebook, this is usually beneficial to the user.
For example, on the desktop version of Duolingo, you don’t have a limited amount of hearts; in fact, hearts aren’t even a thing, meaning that you can make as many mistakes as you need to without purchasing a “Super” membership (previously known as “Plus”).
Another example is Schoology. On Chromebooks, students have a better, somewhat more advanced version of Schoology that is more organized and has more functions than the iPad version. One of these functions is how you can edit Google Doc assignments without even leaving the schoology app. There is a “My Document” button, which allows you to view and edit a teacher-created Doc, whether it be open-ended writing or a fill-in-the-blanks study guide, directly from Schoology. If you wanted to open the document from the Google Docs website instead, there’s an “Edit” button which allows you to do so. Any document opened via Schoology automatically saves under your Google account.
On the iPad version of Schoology, on the other hand, there’s a button which allows you to create a written submission, but you can’t see the directions for the assignment while editing it, and you can’t easily go back and forth between the directions and your writing. And this isn’t the only part of Schoology where iPads don’t compare; there’s so much more, but it’s best to just leave it here.
Another thing that makes Chromebook usage much simpler than iPad usage is how, in most cases, everything you need to do can be done from your browser. This means that everything is right in front of you, and nothing will get lost behind layers and layers of forgotten apps and websites. If you’ve never used a Chromebook, it may seem like having too many tabs open at once would result in confusion and lack of organization, but there’s actually a very simple way to group tabs into different subjects or categories.
Grouping tabs compresses the selected tabs into a folder of sorts, which you can then name and color code to your liking. For example, you can have a yellow tab group labeled “History,” in which you can store all of your tabs from that class; a blue tab group labeled “English;” and a green tab group labeled “Science.” The tab groups don’t even have to contain class materials – you could also have, say, a purple tab group labeled “other,” which might contain random things such as a Google search, a Netflix show, and the daily sudoku. For many people, however, grouping tabs isn’t even necessary, since there is a large enough view to contain a good amount of tabs.
If you’re worried about not being able to draw or take handwritten notes on apps such as Notability, or if you simply like having a touchscreen, that’s no reason to keep using an iPad; there are Chromebooks with touchscreens. And, unlike iPads, use of the touchscreen isn’t even necessary to perform the functions that your flimsy iPad keyboard/case can’t. Plus, it’s really nice to have a built-in keyboard mouse.
There are some iPad apps that don’t have web versions, like Notability, but you’ll soon find that apps like that are easily replaceable. Notes can be printed and handed out to students, taken on paper or in a notebook, or shared via Schoology or through a Google Document. The same can be done for worksheets, and many people appreciate the occasional hard copy, as it helps maintain the handwriting skills that are vital to everyday life. There are also apps that are similar to Notability, such as Google Keep, which allows you to take notes in a way that is similar to Notability. But even so, once Notability and similar apps are taken out of the equation, many will find that they are easily replaceable or not even a necessity in the first place.
There are so many more reasons why we should be using Chromebooks instead of iPads, and I could go on and on about this, but here’s the bottom line: It’s time to stop pretending that iPads are the best option for our education. They’re not.