Apple Devices in Education
I want to preface this article with the fact that I work as an IT professional at a college so while my thoughts and ideas are strictly opinions, they are what I have to deal with on a daily bases. Recently I read an article online stating how Chrome OS notebooks are starting to take over in education and I wanted to give my 2 cents on the topic.

First off let's talk about the value of using Chrome OS computers. They are cheap. They are dirt cheap. You can get a Chrome OS notebook for $300 per "machine" which is incredibly inexpensive for an educational institution but it comes at a higher cost. Here's a fun fact, Chrome OS does not support connecting to enterprise networking which most educational institutions use. So that means in order to use these machine, schools would have to completely rebuild their wireless networks to be less secure in order for these machines to work. ChromeBooks are often bulky and made of cheap plastic materials so they not that durable. The exception is Google's Pixel but recently they have announced they will no longer be making them. Sorry but it's true, these Chrome OS "computers" are just poorly made. Let's look at what Chrome OS actually is, it's the Chrome web browser that boots up. That's it. You cannot run software locally on the computers, you cannot store files locally on the computer and even if you could, you couldn't open them because the software is all cloud based. If the internet goes out then your computer cannot do anything. That's a terrible user experience. So let's look at the cost of a MacBook. They start ~$1000 which is incredibly expensive but they work on existing network infrastructures, they run offline and seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Active Directory services. How about iPad? You can get iPad Air 2 for $400 each and minus the Microsoft Active Directory support, they work very similarly to a Macintosh.

It is nice that since Chrome OS is just a web browser, IT does not have to go to each machine and update them. That being said, there wouldn't be a lot to update. It does become a pain to go to each Windows PC, Macintosh, or iOS device and update the operating system and application software but at least they actually do run local software. Google's suit of software is great, when I was in high school I used to use it every day (until I got my iPad.) The problem is that if Google ever decided to change it or get rid of a service, you can't use it anymore because you never ran it locally. If Apple were to get rid of Pages today, I could continue using it on my computers because I run that software locally and they can't go around to each computer and delete it.

Let's talk compatibility. Like it or not but Microsoft office is the industry standard and Chrome OS computer cannot run it. iPad runs MS Office, Macintosh computers run MS Office and of course Windows PCs run MS Office. How can a campus run without using industry standard software. That baffles me. I personally don't care for MS Office and I like using iWork but at least iWork is 100% compatible with Office. Google's software is not and that's just getting office work done, don't even try and think you can run 3rd party software on Chrome OS. You are limited to running web apps which are often slow and require massive amounts of network traffic. If the school doesn't have an amazing network infrastructure than just a few of these machines constantly thrashing the network may make it so slow and unreliable that there's no network connectivity which means you can't do anything on a Chrome OS device.

Like I mentioned before, Chrome OS devices do not work with Active Directory or Open Directory services so the school is forced to use Google's cloud based services so again if your internet goes down then those devices cannot even login. As much as I don't like that Microsoft holds the industry standard for user account management, it is nice that Apple computers can play nice with it so everything just works. The goal of this article wasn't to be a rant, I just felt there were some things that needed to be said because Google is trying to cover up some of these major flaws. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I'll try to get them answered as soon as I can.
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