Asking The Right Questions

Over the last few weeks I have received a hand full of e-mails all asking the same question. 

What would you recommend?

MacBook vs ChromeBook

Laptop vs Tablet

Tablet Laptop vs Tablet Slates

The problem is that’s not the right question to be asking. Don’t get me wrong, I know what everyone is asking and dealing with. There are a lot of compelling options out there right now and at the end of the day the best option is the one your school can afford. 

However, if you are looking at a couple different platforms then your school must have the budget to do some shopping and thinking about which platform is best for students and this is where our question begins. 

Do not ask “What should we use to go 1:1 with?

Ask “What do we want students to create?

I wrote about this in my Technology Plan (Free PDF that needs to be updated) a few years back. The technology should support the learning which means we need to know what we expect students to create (key word there) with technology. 

Let’s take 3rd Grade as an example. I would expect 3rd Graders at my school to:

  • Collaborating on Google Docs
  • Blogging (including uploading of images)
  • Creating simple movies
  • Creating simple podcasts
  • Commenting on others blogs

I would sit down with the 3rd Grade team and have them help me brainstorm this list. Remembering to stay focus on what we want students to do, not what we’re currently doing (sometimes a big difference!). 

ipadclassroom
Some rights reserved by mikecogh

Why do I focus on creating? Simple, we want every student to be able to consume information via technology. That’s a given and each of the devices above allows you to consume information, there is nothing, other than form factor that really sets them apart. If you only want students to consume information the choice is easy…a tablet such as an iPad is made to do just that. Looking at the quick list that I created I’m now going to go and look at all my options for hardware and choose the best fit that allows my students to do everything I want them to do. In the case above everything listed, except collaborate on Google Docs, can simply be done on an iPad. So, using this list (and I know it’s not complete) I would go 1:1 with iPads in 3rd Grade and then have a cart of laptops available for the Google Docs piece.

This is the question I started with in my recent blog post about what my dream school 1:1 program would look like. At the end of the day the right device is the device that allows your teachers and students to do what they want to do and are not held back by the technology. Make your decision on what you want students to create and you can’t go wrong.

Featured Image: Some rights reserved by rwentechaney