I’m a tech geek and always have been. I’ve never made a big deal out of it professionally, but I’ve decided that is about to change.
In the last year, I have really tried to embrace technology in the classroom. I have been fortunate to have much more regular access to iPads for my class and we have used Class Dojo as a behaviour management tool, Seesaw in a million different ways, green screening with Green Screen by Doink Screen Chomp and countless other iPad apps. In my classroom, I had an Apple TV linked to the smartboard, so I could easily display content. As the year progressed I become increasingly tempted to buy an iPad Pro. The main reason being the stylus. There is something magical about using a good quality stylus and I started to think about how this could be used in the classroom. Imagine sat, facing the children, scribing ideas or a shared story. You wouldn’t give them the chance to lose focus by turning your back to them to write on the whiteboard or type at your computer. You could even pass it around and they write their own ideas or carry on the story. I could use it to reduce the amount of paper I use (and invariably lose) whether it is making notes when reading with child or group, or in place of a flipchart when recording ideas.
I’m getting excited just typing about the possibilities!
However, the new school year sees us move schools and move countries. My new school in Bangkok uses Google Classroom. I’m intrigued about the possibilities and I’ve decided to do the Google Certified Educator training (Google Certified Educator – link opens in a new window). I love Google. Sure there are probably millions of reasons why I shouldn’t love the company as much as I do, but over the last 20 years, they have changed the computing world. I still remember the very first google search page:
There is no point shelling out hundreds of pounds for an iPad Pro I wouldn’t easily be able to use in school. Fortunately, a few weeks ago I stumbled across a review for the Samsung Chromebook Pro, which comes complete with the famous Samsung S-Pen. Could this device be what I’ve been looking for?
I’m back in the UK for the summer and sadly Samsung has decided not to sell the Chromebook Pro in the UK. A big mistake I think, because it looks amazing and I’d be surprised if it didn’t sell over here with the right marketing. Anyway, I wasn’t going to let that put me off. Amazon.com sells the Chromebook Pro and will ship to the UK (and most other countries too by the looks of it). I ordered one last Sunday and then two days ago it arrived.
First impressions are that this thing is exactly what I want. The stylus is amazing, the screen big and bright. Even with importing it and paying shipping and taxes it is significantly cheaper than the iPad Pro. In fact, I’m writing this blog post on it now. The keyboard is comfortable, although not as high quality as my Macbook Pro and I will miss the backlighting on the keyboard. The machine is fast and responsive and the battery seems fairly good. I’ve had to fight my children to use it, they love drawing and writing with the S-Pen – a good sign for school use!
It is one of the first Chromebooks to have access to the Android Google Play Store, so there is no shortage of apps available (although the Play Store access is still only in beta – so there may be some incompatibility).
When I start at my new school in August I will try and post regular updates about how I am getting on using this beauty in the classroom. Fingers crossed it’s as good as I expect it to be!