Apple Strikes Back at Google with Education Initiatives

(system) #1

Originally published at:

Apple is a bit of an underdog in the education market, where Google increasingly dominates with inexpensive, easily managed Chromebook laptops. On Tuesday, Apple staged an education-specific press event at a Chicago magnet school to trot out a host of education initiatives meant to make Apple more competitive in the classroom.

(William Robbins) #2

How true. It’s been many, many days, the mid 1980s I think, since Apple held better than 50% of the education market with the venerable Apple ][+ and the Apple ][e.

(Adam Engst) #3

And now there’s news that Google is equipping school buses with Wi-Fi and Chromebooks. That’s the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that Apple needs to do if it wants to regain ground in education.

Speaking as a kid who grew up in the country and rode the bus for an hour each way, I would have loved having full Internet access during that time.

(@lbutlr) #4

A lot of the comments I’ve heard from many people keep comparing chromebooks and iPads, almost exclusively on price. There’s a lot of problems with these comments.

  1. These people do not actually work in education, and the cost numbers they are giving for chromebooks are not just wrong, they are laughably wrong ($150? In your dreams!). Chromebook purchases for a school will go through a service contract with HP or Dell and will cost about the same as a $300 iPad for a really terrible Chromebook. I happen to know the terrible barely functional chrome books at my kid’s school have a $440 replacement cost, and I wouldn’t spend $40 on one. the screens are so terrible that I cannot read them, though my 16yo can.

  2. The chromebooks are far less useful and capable than an iPad. No cameras, not recording, basically no storage. In addition, no editing video or sound, no drawing, photo manipulation. really, they are glorified typewriters and web browsers, and that is all.

  3. Chromebook purchases by schools have far less flexibility in terms on quantity and at least here, chromebooks all go through the central computer/IT department while iPads can be purchased in much smaller lots and generally arrive directly into the classroom.

  4. The student’s opinions on the chromebooks are universally bad. My son ends up having to do a lot of his work on one of our Macs and then back-end the finished product through his teacher since getting files onto the chromebook is basically impossible. I have a workaround where I stick the file on my web server and send him a link, but that is not something most people could figure out.

I’d love to hear someone who is actually a school admin talking on these topics because i think we’d get a far different picture.

(Adam Engst) #5

Tristan used a Chromebook at Ithaca High for the last few years, and he liked the experience overall, but he was using much nicer hardware (a Chromebook Pixel 2) than most students. The Dell Chromebooks that IHS gave out were nowhere near as good. The school system does provide iPads for K-4, and Chromebooks for 5-12, but since that started well after Tristan was in elementary school, we have little sense of how the iPads have worked out.

As far as the software, though, it was basically Google Docs, and things were handed in online. If I remember right, the hard part was that he had to use his school account for homework stuff, rather than his personal account, so there was some confusion there.

Despite having iPads around the house, he’s basically never used one for anything, and laughed at us when we asked if he wanted to. The lack of a keyboard was a complete non-starter, and until recently, the Google apps weren’t that good on the iPad and he didn’t need to use anything else.

The non-stop drama surrounding the Chromebooks was actually related to Internet content filtering that the school applied to the Internet connection. It was some service and was relatively stupid, so it blocked lots of stuff kids needed legitimate access to, like the BBC, and failed to block the time-wasting Flash game sites that popped up like mushrooms.

(@lbutlr) #6

Oh, another huge issue we’ve had with the chrome books is that they often cannot access the class assignments, teacher links, or other documents unless they are connected to the school’s Internet connection, which of course makes homework impossible, but I don’t know how common that is. My son blames the content filter for that and says it even happens at school on occasions, but much more at home.

His chromebook can also only receive emails from school accounts, so he cannot even mail things to himself (thus my ‘put it on the web server’ work-around).

(Adam Engst) #7

So he’s using a Chromebook but not Google Docs?

The Internet connection was the primary source of complaints among Tristan’s friends too.

(@lbutlr) #8

He isn’t using Google Docs for keynotes or videos.

(Jolin Warren) #9

I have to wonder if a lot of this technology deployment (whether Chromebooks or iPads) is just through a simplistic belief that technology = good. I mean, why not let high school students use their own devices (you can still provide online submission, etc.)? Sure, provide Chromebooks or iPads for those that don’t have access to a computer or tablet, but many will. And I honestly don’t know why early years students need any form of computing device at all.

(Adam Engst) #10

Tristan may have used Google Slides one or twice, and videos never came up. Then again, he was taking a full slate of AP classes, mostly STEM stuff, and the humanities classes he did take just required papers. Even his film studies class had papers for homework, not video production.

(@lbutlr) #11

You can’t assume that everyone has a device, and there are certainly advantages to knowing that everyone has a certain level of capabilities.

Since some people need a device, if you want everyone to have a device, you have to be prepared to provide on.

(Jolin Warren) #12

I don’t know, when I was at school we managed fine with different people having different devices, including some using those provided by the school. I think the advantages of providing devices for all students have been overstated, and probably not the best use of limited funds. And I say that as someone who loves technology.