• 20 January 2019
Choosing A Digital Tablet For Your Tutoring Sessions

Choosing A Digital Tablet For Your Tutoring Sessions

Aug 24, 2017

A comparison of the Chromebook and the iPad as tool for tutors.

It’s no secret that technology has drastically altered the scholastic landscape, impacting both the way we teach and how students learn and interact with material. We’ve seen all types of technology come into play within schools, and it isn’t slowing down. One of the major players in the education technology arena is the tablet, likely due to its portability, ease of use, and price.

Two of the main tablet contenders in schools today are the Chromebook and the iPad, and recent trends have indicated a pretty clear favorite: the Chromebook. The New York Times reported on the decreasing popularity of the iPad in the classroom while the Chromebook’s demand has sharply risen. Traditionally a device for personal use, Apple has starting taking steps to address the iPad’s education compatibility (or lack thereof). One such example is The Classroom, an app they just released to assist in classroom management of student iPad usage.

The Chromebook may be ideal for usage within schools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best in all areas of education. For tutors, there are definitely perks to both, and choosing which one to incorporate into your sessions depends on the needs of you and your students. Check out the pros and cons of the major players below to help you select the most appropriate tablet for your tutoring sessions.

Chromebook

Pros:

  • Price. The price of the Chromebook is one of its most appealing features. At less than $200, it costs significantly less than the iPad, whose cheapest model is more than $300.
    Google App Access. The Chromebook supports many Google apps that are often used for education purposes, such as Drive and Documents, and allows you to access these programs offline. For tutors who work with these applications, this is a very useful feature.

  • Shareability. Because the documents are stored in the cloud and not on the device itself, The Chromebook can easily be shared by multiple people, allowing users to access the required information from any available device via their Google account. This can be very helpful for tutors who wish to utilize similar lesson plans among multiple students.

  • Keyboard. This characteristic is most beneficial to older students, whose work often requires writing and note taking -- tasks that are much more difficult on a touchscreen.

Cons:

  • Size. The size of the Chromebook makes it a bit less convenient. Because it’s larger, this tablet is not as easy to transport. Its keyboard also means you’ll need to stay put when using it.

  • Construction. Many users mention the Chromebook’s build quality is lacking compared to the iPad’s. They break relatively easily which, when coupled with the fact that it’s larger and more difficult to carry, can be a major issue if you’re a tutor who is traveling to different locations for your sessions.

  • Accessibility. Only web-based and approved applications are available through the Chromebook, which can be frustrating if you’re looking for something specific to use in your sessions. No third-party software is permitted and, due to its reliance on the cloud and lack of space, you’ll have to stick with streaming programs through Chrome and a limited app selection.

iPad

Pros:

  • Size. its compact size makes the iPad comfortably transportable, allowing tutors to easily carry it from session to session.
    Construction. The iPad is built well and has great hardware.

  • App Store. Apple’s App Store is populated with a vast number of great apps and has been continuously praised for its tight security. Tutors can find virtually anything they’re looking for on a whim when using the iPad.

  • Touchscreen. Opposite from the Chromebook, the iPad’s touchscreen is a great feature for younger students whose work isn’t heavily reliant on typing. It’s more interactive and caters well to children. Specifically, if educational games are incorporated in your sessions, this tablet may be ideal.

Cons:

  • Price. The iPad is priced much higher than the Chromebook. Although Apple recently released a cheaper iPad, it’s still a more significant investment.

  • Accounts: iPads only allow for a single user account, making it more difficult to easily share. If you’re using it with students, you’ll have to ensure you’re taking the proper measures to keep everyone’s work and information separate, meaning you’ll probably have to download some serious productivity apps to help.

  • Writing. Relying on a touch screen makes typing more difficult, so the iPad is not an ideal choice for educators whose students create content.

  • Wifi. The iPad is very Wifi dependent. Most of its features and apps require an internet connection, making it inconvenient if you don’t have a reliable network.

The Rundown

When it comes to tablets for your tutoring sessions, the Chromebook and the iPad each have their own benefits. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer for which is most appropriate but, based on the pros and cons of each, there are a few ways to determine which might be a better fit. With its facilitation of content creation, the Chromebook may be more appropriate for older students whose academic work is heavily reliant on writing and recording. Older students are also generally more careful when handling electronics, alleviating the breakage issue. On the other hand, iPads may be the ideal choice when working with younger students, with its touchscreen lending well to game-based learning and content consumption. It’s also generally a familiar and fun device to children, potentially keeping interest levels high. Do you have a preference for which tablet to use in your tutoring sessions? Join the conversation below.
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