Video: When to choose iPads vs. Chromebooks

Two educators go head-to-head on which device is better for classrooms

Ed. note: In partnership with Lesson Planet, we asked their professional development resource arm, PD Learning Network, for the most popular videos on their site. We’ll be featuring a limited number of these, one a week, each Monday.

In the last few years iPads and Chromebooks have both seen astronomical growth in education becoming two of the most popular devices for classrooms and one-to-one programs. In light of that it’s only natural that power users and fans will compare and contrast their merits, given that so many schools have limited funds for devices.

That’s basically the setup for this spirited debate by Jennifer Gibson, CEO of PD Learning Network and an iPad connoisseur and Rich Dixon, vice president of professional learning and a devoted Chromebook user.

“Sometimes you’re forced to have one or the other,” Gibson said. Together the pair dissect everything from price — $400-$600 for an iPad mini; $250 for Rich’s basic Chromebook — to mobility, weight, screen resolution, apps, and camera quality.

While Dixon and Gibson award one device a point in each of these areas, they concede a lot of the choice comes down to factors such as budget, grade level, and desired use. Chromebooks may be simpler in cases where multiple students have to use the same device, but iPads can work reasonably well in those situations. Students in grades 4-12 may have to do more writing and thus may prefer the tactile keyboard of the Chromebook; younger students may enjoy passing around an iPad.

“I think a lot comes down to your purposes,” said Dixon.

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