I remember back in the day getting so excited to go back to school shopping because it meant some new Trapper Keeper binders, a Transformers or GI Joe book cover, filler paper, and a variety of other school supplies to get me through the year. I should have known then that I was destined for a career in education–I mean, who else geeks out over school supplies? (It’s not nice to call someone a geek, but it’s okay when you call yourself one…especially if it’s true!)
Anyway, fast forward to 2014 and the Trapper Keeper is back, but that’s not really the point of my post. As great as all those school supplies are, there is one item I’m advocating for you to buy your student this year–a Chromebook or a laptop. Still reading? Good. I feared that you may have scoffed: “Mr. Novak expects me to buy what?” And, indeed, you may have had that reaction, but hear me out. These days it’s fairly typical for a high school graduate to receive a new computer. So, little Johnny heads off to college with a brand new Macbook Pro, but has little to no experience actually using it in an educational setting. Sure, he’s had access at home, but working on an essay while simultaneously playing video games, catching up on TV shows online, connecting with friends on social media, downloading the new Kanye album, etc is a little different than bringing the laptop to class. Before he heads off to college, why not provide a learning experience in how to use technology responsibly?
The new Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program has opened up that possibility for all students. Smartphones were the most popular device for students last year, but many students, especially juniors or seniors, began bringing in their laptops to complete their class assignments. I think this is a trend that will continue and is definitely something I support. Students enjoy using devices they know how to use and like the convenience of being able to work on an assignment and save it without having to email it to themselves or use cloud-based storage.
Need some more convincing? Which device would you rather your child have out during class–his iPhone or a Chromebook? Yes, he can access his English teacher’s Edmodo page on his 5S (or maybe the 6 coming out in September), but there’s a greater temptation to be Snapchatting, Instagramming, and using other apps that don’t necessarily have an educational purpose. That’s not to say that the Chromebook doesn’t offer a similar allure of off-task programming, but I think the degree is slightly lower and it’s a little easier for teachers to notice what’s happening on a 11+inch screen than on a 4 or 5 inch one.
Here are some deals going on right now you might want to check out:
Think I’m crazy? Let me know. Feel like I may be onto something here? Say that in the comments too!