Not Just a Teacher

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Not Just a Teacher

The Parents Tech Issue and Chromebooks

May 5th, 2014 · 5 Comments · General

Admittedly, this has come a little earlier than expected but to have my daughter’s seventh birthday only a few days away and not being able to decide what technology to buy for her, raises issues I think it is important to share. The most important of these issues is the balance of cost/uses/limitations.

My daughter has no demands from her school to supply her with technology, unfortunately. To date, she has used the plethora of technology at home on a shared basis but there is clearly a demand for her to have her own device. I see a shelf-life of three years for this technology and I do not want to spend an exorbitant amount of money. My daughter wants to and likes to: play little browser games, write stories, develop picture books, draw and make presentations on her own. There are other digital things she does but she has access to an iPad in the house, a fairly high spec laptop and a Surface Pro.

So, I am thinking, why should I look any further than a Chromebook? Won’t this do most things for her? I know there isn’t a device out there that does everything all the time. But, it will surely be reasonably fast with 4Gb of RAM and not much to power really, she will largely use it the house with a decent wireless connection, it’s easy to manage and, to my mind, the exposure to a cloud based way of working can only benefit her. My wife brought up the issue with the occasions when she might want to take the device to places where she has to work offline. Research has shown me that the current generation of Chromebooks can be used offline easily. Is this a true picture? Does a Chromebook allow for saving locally? My wife also talked about the ability to be able to demonstrate her digital creations at school and the only options for this currently are printing and via a USB stick (quite shocking provision, I have to say). The Chromebook we are looking at has USB ports so this would not appear to be an issue but again, how well does the saving locally/downloading concept work on Chromebooks?

Any input and advice from anyone out there who has used or is using Chromebooks would be greatly appreciated. However, one thing sticks in my mind in all this…….if this causes me to ask such a plethora of questions, do we in education really appreciate the issues such decisions cause many parents?

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • IaninSheffield

    Hmm, a dilemma indeed!
    To answer your questions: yes it’s fast enough; yes you can save and work offline (but others have reported it can be glitchy – I haven’t experienced that, but I guess you need to manage your workflow carefully (Could a 7 yr old?)); yes you can save all sorts of files locally and open the common types; yes you can of course export files to a USB stick, saving/downloading locally is no problem – you have a file browser just as on other devices, but understanding which are local and which in the Cloud helps). (I’d argue that this is no more difficult or easy to grasp than the lack of a file system on certain tablet devices)

    I suspect that whichever device you choose, there will as you say, be a time when you want to do something you can’t. It’s also likely that at some point your needs will change in such a way that you have to look for a device which better serves those needs. If you shelled out only a modest amount in the first place, then the hurt is a little bit less.

    You’re absolutely right that these issues will leave a good number of parents floundering, especially when they don’t have your background in these matters. I’m often asked which device they should by and opt to (politely) side-step answering by giving general advice about matching device to needs, reminding them not to forget some of the less ‘sexy’ things like battery life, portability and fragility etc. What worries me more however is ‘pester power’ from offspring who need to have the latest and best ‘cool’ device to impress or fit in with their peers. If you’re of limited means, that must be so tough.

    Glad this is your call and not mine!

  • damoward

    Hey Nick
    Bought a Samsung Chromebook for

  • Parent’s Tech issues and Chromebooks – a reply | damoward

    […] reply to my mate, Nick who is considering a Chromebook for his 7 year old […]

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