Which route to take for your school district
Written by Cait Heinz, Instructional Specialist and Coach
Students, parents, and districts all had a steep learning curve through distance learning this spring and K-12 districts are wanting to prepare for distance or hybrid learning by providing devices to support student learning. Settling on a device that works best for your district can be a daunting task; especially while keeping in mind budget restrictions, versatility and student use. Two options districts are considering to ramp up their one to one device programs this fall are Chromebooks or laptops.
Chromebooks have become quite popular in K–12 over the past few years. With a wide variety of device options, the Chromebook does have some great reasons to pick it. ChromeOS continues to become less of a “web-based OS” and more of an OS powered by the cloud. Web applications have continued to become as fully featured as desktop apps. The cloud-based operating system also lends itself to schools purchasing devices for larger departments or curating Chromebook carts to share throughout the school. Students just need to sign in with their Google account and they have access to their work.
At first glance a Chromebook appears to work the same way as a laptop. However, Chromebooks are cloud based devices that require a connected network to utilize the device. Laptops provide you with the ability to have more versatility with applications, storage, web browsing and more computing horsepower, but comes with a higher price tag compared to Chromebooks.
When working to narrow down the device that works best for your district, start with the technology goals of your schools. If you plan to mainly use Google Drive, Google Docs, Gmail, etc, then a Chromebook will be a strong option for you. If you plan to use more creative tools, want more computing power and storage, laptops are your route. Begin with the districts vision in mind and work towards the device that will fit best.
Side by SideComparison
- Operating System
- Web Browser
ChromebookSpeedy | Simple | Secure
- Chrome OS
- Google Chrome
- Online “in the cloud” storage
- Applications from the Chrome Web Store or Android applications from the Google Play Store
- More cost effective
- Use of Google Cloud Print
LaptopCreative Tools | Power | Storage
- Windows or macOS
- All browsers
- Offline saved to device drive OR online “in the cloud” storage
- Almost all programs
- Prices range depending on storage & speed of OS
- Plug in USB from printer and follow set up directions