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?