Transitioning from tablets to Android apps enabled Chromebooks

Until a year ago or so I used two devices in the classroom: a classroom PC (connected to a projector) and a tablet (connected to the projector via a Chromecast dongle). I used the PC for mostly for writing (substituting the chalkboard), visuals, videos, etc. and the tablet mostly for casting Google Slide presentations, showing photos and demoing the use of educational apps like Quizlet.

During the past school year I have made a transition to using my Chromebooks (Asus Flip and Asus C302) only even where I used to use a tablet. The switch took some time and trials as initially Chromebooks be had some drawbacks over tablets. You had to install a special plug-in to be able to chromecast and even then it often didn’t work well. Another drawback was that initially Android apps didn’t feel very native to chromebooks, often crashed or some didn’t work at all.

All of these flaws disappeared over the course of the last year and even though chromebooks are of course a bit clunkier than tablets, they have all but substituted my tablet and classroom PC (where I have access to a Chromecast). It does take a little bit of getting used to the weight of holding a small laptop instead of of a tablet, but the advantages easily make up for that minor inconvenience:
  • One device for all needs
  • Web apps and Android apps
  • No compromise on the keyboard
  • No switching between the projector sources
  • Portability and mobility

Both Chromebooks I use have their advantages and disadvantages: the Chromebook Flip (C100PA) is smaller (even though not lighter) and feels at 10 inches very much like a tablet and is cheaper (under $250), but also considerably slower. The Chromebook C302 costs twice as much, is 12.5 inches and feels high end (great backlit keyboard, good speakers, great build quality) and is very fast. The Asus C302 is currently considered the best chromebook of 2017 by many tech blogs, e.g. techradar.

The best thing however is, that there are lots of similar devices coming out which are especially geared towards education (low price, rugged build). It might be a bit late for the coming school year, but for the next school year Chromebooks might the best choice for those schools that use tablets.

Anatomy app Anatronica on a Chromebook Asus C302 works flawlessly.

The  Asus C302 in laptop mode

The Asus C302 in tablet mode

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