Apple vs. Android

So last year our district started a teacher technology program that puts a Windows laptop or a Chromebook and Android tablet in the hands of teachers. It’s still at the lottery selection stage currently, but I imagine it will roll out to all interested teachers eventually.

So that’s the promising news.

Now for the not so promising news. Where is the option to select Apple products? Well that’s still up to teachers to purchase with their own money, because someone won’t support what they can’t repair. So there’s that.

So choice one is to receive a Windows laptop that comes with OSAPAC software, lots of IT support and looks and works like the thousands of machines that our district has in place. Option two is a Chromebook and Nexus tablet. Nice for those that are willing to do a little experimentation and still be supported by IT. There is an option three where you can purchase your own iPad and MacBook with your own money and receive no district support. Your support is provided by AppleCare, should you decide to purchase it beyond the initial grace period.

I suppose there is an option four whereby you don’t do anything and still teach in a pre-technology era, but those people really aren’t reading this blog.

So I was fortunate enough to receive a nicely spec’d out Chromebook and a Nexus 7 tablet to use in my classroom. Now I already have my own personal Chromebook that I use at school, so I’m a little familiar with what these machines can do. Having another one in the class creates some interesting options for use. I also have a personal MacBook Air and Retina iPad Mini that I use at school. There are a few other bits and pieces, but these are the main players. With that background taken care of, let’s move on.

I thought it might be interesting to document the advantages and shortcomings of each of these devices. Well, the Chromebook and Android table and the MacBook Air and iPad Mini. I’m not really a Windows user, although I can definitely use one if I have to. I understand they are entirely different in what they offer and really have no place being compared to one another. Yet, as a teacher I want to be using the best tools under the proper circumstances to get the job done, and each of these devices has its own niche. Practically speaking I am also well aware that one set of devices is a fair bit less expensive than the other, so that will play a role in the comparison as well.

I will admit right from the beginning that I have a lot more experience with Apple products that I do with Android products. I’m really going to try and maintain some degree of neutrality in future posts as I reflect on using these devices. I realize ahead of time that may be a bit of a challenge.

So here’s the idea. I’ll post some thoughts on how I use these devices in the classroom and how students use these devices in the classroom. I don’t know if I’ll end up with a score card kind of result, or more of a blended experience that might suggest the most promising use for each device. Maybe a combination of both.


One Comment on “Apple vs. Android”

  1. Larry says:

    Colin – your scenario sounds familiar. Many boards seem reluctant to get on the Apple bandwagon. My hunch is that economics may be the root cause – too expensive to support 2 systems. Even though Apple typically requires less “upkeep,” Just the thought of training IT staff system wide can give the board the heeby-jeebies. And then training and supporting any number of teachers who may require some hand holding.

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