Wednesday, June 8, 2011

iPads vs. Netbooks the Final Answer?

This school year, I've had the pleasure of working Molly Schroeder leading a group of 29 staff through a Teaching and Technology Cohort through Hamline University. We are currently studying assessment, and one of the course outcomes is to assess what technology staff would select for their classroom. I posed to them this question:
Would a laptop/netbook or ipad be a better tool for student use?
I broke the participants up into groups and had them research the topic, giving them suggestions here and here of places that had chosen either option. To evaluate the project, I asked them to use this rubric, developed by Doug Johnson for Large Scale Technology Adoption. They were asked to come to a consensus, and then present their findings.

I found it interesting at the time, that some participants followed the rubric religiously, while others seemed to follow their gut feelings! Here was one of the presentations that is representative of the overall impressions:

I realized while viewing the presentations that the participants did exactly as I asked them to.
I did NOT model good a good problem based lesson, because I gave them an out! I decided the next day to ask again, but this time create a scenario where they had to make a firmer choice:

Good Morning!
On Tuesday during class, I tweeted out that groups in the cohort were presenting on whether a netbook or iPad would be a better tool for student learning. Several people, including Scott McLeod replied that they were interested in the results:
tweets 4 iPad vs. Netbook
Well, after watching the presentations, and looking through the peer review, I found it hard for me to answer! Many of you indicated that while viewing presentations, you had been influenced by the arguments.
I also realized that I should have phrased the problem in a way that required a clear decision:
You are a member of your building technology committee. Your district will be going to a 1:1 learning environment next year, where each student will have a device. You have narrowed it down to iPads vs. netbooks. Using the Johnson Rubric for Large Scale Implementation, which device will your committee choose?
This would have required a more definitive solution from each group.

To answer this once and for all, I would like you to complete this short form today. I will compile the results and share them with you tomorrow. I will also be getting your group's peer feedback to you later today.


 If you count what people voted for at the end, the result of the class poll was:
iPad  - 13 Netbook - 8
Two people actually cancelled each other out when they picked the opposite of what their numbers told them!

Criteria iPad Netbook















Total Score Average



So based on the vote and the numbers, this group would choose an iPad as the best tool for student learning.

While this exercise was hypothetical, the rubric provides good, quantitative criteria to consider when looking at classroom technology. 
iPad vs. Netbook images from Jared Earle and Bela Hausmann
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