|Justin Long was better in Die Hard.|
I believe Chromebooks provide some collateral learning for the students. Namely,
- Cloud-based computing isn't an afterthought; it's the inspiration for building it. And cloud-based computing is where we operate today. It's not only important for students to know how to wrangle files in the cloud, it is imperative if they want to find a job after college because great cloud computing skills are a dipstick test for computer literacy.
- It's so easy to have Linux running concurrently with the Chrome OS. And Linux is a great tool for becoming digitally literate
- The app store has many free productivity and educational tools. It's important for students to discover their own personal workflow, and how to be productive with the computer. I cannot overstate this enough - an alarming number of students enter college with computers and tablets, but have no idea how to leverage them in their learning.
- Google Docs is a tremendous tool for group collaboration - much more impressive than iCloud from Apple. And being collaborative naturally (instead of having collaboration be the focus of a project, Google Docs allows students to focus on being productive - the collaboration is just a nice addition) is an important lesson.
- The lessons about syncing across devices are much more apparent when working with Chrome and Chromebooks; although I like the syncing on Apple devices, it is a more potent lesson in Chrome.
- Using Chrome apps effectively means being a bit more critical with permissions, and really understanding what access students are willing to give. Critical thinking skills are a lost art in students of all ages. This is a fine example of how to evaluate what students are getting, and if the access it asks for is appropriate.
- This is going to sound harsh, but there is some truth to it. But I think that MacBooks tend to "spoon feed" users. You don't need to be computer savvy to use one. That is one of the draws to a Mac - that it is easy to use. But in the process of making a beautiful, slick experience, Apple has numbed the user to a big part of digital agility (file management, troubleshooting, an understanding of what happens under the hood). Chromebooks provide a much better experience for users who want to squeeze every drop they can from their computer usage. Put another way, if I were hiring a person and had two identical candidates, but one was proficient with a Mac and the other with a Chromebook, I'd lean towards the Chromebook user. I just think there is more authentic experience with a Chromebook user. Anyone can be good on a Mac, but it takes a higher level of conceptual knowledge to be proficient with a Chromebook.