Chromebook or Tablet for the Classroom? Finding the Best of Both Worlds
This blog post is sponsored by Acer Education, a partner of EdTechTeam.
As educational technology has become a common staple in classrooms around the world, many educators find themselves in the difficult position of deciding which type of device will serve their students best. Schools often find themselves choosing between laptops or tablets, without realizing there is a way to have the best of both through hybrid devices such as the Acer Spin or Acer Switch, that starts as a laptop but allows the screen to fold or flip into a tablet. With touchscreen capabilities and front facing cameras, the options for classroom creativity with these devices are endless.
Whether your students have access to a laptop, tablet, or both, there are many exciting ways to transform traditional teaching into 21st century learning.
Laptop Mode as an Essential Daily Tool
For daily classroom use, the traditional laptop configurement is a safe bet. Much of what students are asked to do in the classroom involves written work, which is why students benefit from having devices that can stand alone with keyboards and trackpads. However, with laptops in the classroom, the type of daily work teachers can assign to their students is anything but traditional.
If you haven’t heard the hype about HyperDocs, you can think of them as digitally enhanced worksheets with an emphasis on student inquiry, critical thinking, and creation. By embedding links into a web-based doc, students can be sent to different tasks and discoveries around the web before returning to their assignment to reflect, solve, or create. There are a wide range of pre-built Hyperdoc templates resources available to make the transition from paper to digital a breeze.
Google Docs + Explore
Teaching research-based writing can feel like a high peak to summit, but Google is trying to make it simpler through the use of the explore tool in Google Docs. If you are unfamiliar with the explore tool, it looks like speech bubble with a star in the middle and can be found in the bottom right corner of your Google Doc. When clicked, explore uses artificial intelligence to try and assist your with your writing process. By scanning your document for keywords, explore will recommend search terms and provide you with recommended search results, so you can conduct research as you write. The best part is, explore also provides a citation button that creates a fully formatted citation for your source at the bottom of the page.
Sometimes the best and most engaging delivery format for your content is video. In the past, teachers have handed out worksheets for students to complete as they watched videos together as a class. EdPuzzle takes that concept and uses technology to embed questions directly into the video itself. As students watch the video on their personal laptops, it pauses at specified intervals and asks comprehension questions. EdPuzzle is great because it allows students to work at their own pace, and provides instant feedback once they are finished.
Getting Creative with Touchscreens & Tablets
While your students might be using their device in laptop-mode the majority of the time, flipping the screen into tablet-mode also flips script from traditional school work into a more creative narrative.
With tablet and touchscreen devices, digital illustration becomes much more accessible through programs like Google Drawing and Windows Ink. When drawing is digital, there’s no time lost to passing out and clearing up paper, markers, and other supplies; instead, the students spin their screens over, completed their sketch, and attach their file to your Google Classroom or other LMS. With this kind of efficiency, rather than asking students to write about their favorite character in your class novel, your could ask them to draw a quick sketch on their tablet, using details they remember from the text, and then project the drawings to share as a class all in a matter of minutes.
Game based Learning
Whether game based learning is a regular part of your class time, or a good option for early finishers and free time, it is growing in popularity as more and more apps and software rush to meet the demand. Popular applications such as Math vs Zombies, Writing Wizard, and Galxyz (for science) all prefer touchscreen users for optimal gameplay, making a tablet a handy device for your students game based education.
Creating videos are a great way for students to demonstrate understanding, use creative thinking, and work collaboratively with a group; apps like WeVideo and Screencastify are helping to make video making and editing more accessible in the classroom. However, when it comes to the actual filming (especially if your students are filming more than just a screen capture or monologue) there is no question that tablets are far superior to laptops. When the Acer Spin transitions into a tablet, it has a second “world-facing” camera on the keyboard side, so your students can hold their device like they would a smartphone or iPad, and watch their video capture on the screen as they record.
Best of Both Worlds
Technology should never be a barrier in education, but rather a gateway to the amazing tools, products, and ideas available for the 21st century classroom. In order to allow our students the best access to not only learning, but also creation and exploration laptop, tablet hybrids are the best of both worlds.