Is a Chromebook Tablet a Good idea?
That’s the question that I’ll be tackling on this episode of the Chromebook Classroom podcast.
My guest is Marcus Mead, director of instructional technology for Glen Lake Schools in northern Michigan. Marcus oversee the Chromebook program in Glen Lake which recently added the Acer Chromebook tablet to its existing collection of Chromebooks.
Glen Lake Schools has been an early adopter of technology ranging from netbooks to iPads, and now Chromebooks.
Different Chromebooks for different students
The Glen Lake Chromebook program is uniquely tailored to the needs of each grade level. Marcus provides a brief overview of Chromebook usage throughout the district including a 1:1 program in grade 5-12, touch screen Chromebooks for upper elementary, and the Acer Chromebook tablet for first grade.
Understanding the unique learning needs of each grade level is key to selecting the appropriate device. For tips on picking the right Chromebook for your classroom, check out this post.
Introducing the Acer Chromebook Tablet
Glen Lake Schools is one of the first districts in the country to purchase and deploy a class set of Chrome Tablets. The Acer Chromebook tablet was selected to replace iPads in several first grade classrooms.
Let’s take a quick look at the Acer Chrome Tab 10, the first ChromOS tablet. Here is a quick rundown on Acer has packed into this tablet:
- 9.7” touchscreen (same size as the iPad Air)
- 4 GB RAM
- ARM processor
- Single USB-C port
- SD Card Slot
- 32 GB storage
- Included Wacom EMR stylus (docks in device)
- List price $329.99
For a full review of the Acer Chrome Tab 10 check out this detailed blog post from my friends over at Chrome Unboxed.
What is it: A Tablet? A Chromebook?
In an effort to streamline district technology to one platform, first grade teacher agreed to swap their existing iPads for the Acer Chrome Tablet. This transition did not go well.
Replacing iPads with a Chrome tablet is very different than giving a Chromebook to a teacher who previously didn’t have any classroom devices.
Marcus is very candid and honest about some of the challenges that the first grade team encountered.
“This is a platform that is in its early stages. It will mature; it will get better, but you need to make sure that all of your stakeholders are involved in the device selection process.”
ChromeOS in a tablet form is a very new idea. The honest truth is that there are a lot of bugs to work out.
“The end user doesn’t really care what this device is….they just want it to work!”
Toward the end of our conversation Marcus makes a really interesting observation about the expectations of teachers using Chrome Tablets as app-based tablets rather than web-based Chromebooks.
The use and management of Android Apps on Chrome devices is something that is still developing. It has improved significantly in the past year, but still has a few issues that need to be polished.
It will take time for this new platform to grow, develop, and mature to a place where it can be efficient. So, what is a Chromebook Tablet and how do you use it? Marcus and the first grade team at Glen Lake are working to answer that question.