Is a Chromebook Appropriate for a Kindergarten?


Source: Android Central

Best answer: We have spoken with various education experts and we believe that Yes, Chromebooks are suitable for kindergarteners, with a few caveats.

Is a Chromebook Appropriate for a Kindergarten?

If you’re wondering if Chromebooks are right for kindergartens, we’ve got you covered. You’ve read our answer to this question before, but we wanted to qualify it based on the feedback we’ve received from educators, administrators, policy makers, and product makers. The general consensus was that, yes, Chromebooks could be good computing devices for students as young as kindergartens. With long-lasting batteries, durable construction and age-appropriate software, these devices are specially designed to withstand the demands of a young student. Still, it’s important to consider what you want your kids to accomplish on a Chromebook. Will it be their primary drive to their school, additional learning at home, a safer, kid-friendly entertainment device, or is it a combination of all of the above?

Here’s what educators told us

Acer Chromebook Spin 713Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Different schools and school districts in the United States and other countries have varying needs, budgets, and policies that influence their decision to equip young students with technology devices. Where I live, older students (middle and high school) are given an individual laptop to take home (usually a Chromebook), but younger students don’t necessarily. Cristina Nguyen, spokesperson for the Austin Independent School District (AISD), told me that “Austin ISD does not provide Chromebooks to early childhood education students. Kindergarten through grade two students are given restricted iPads. Once students enter third grade, they are given a laptop. “

Many schools have distributed Chromebooks and other devices like iPads to young students, especially during the pandemic.

I asked a close friend of mine (who is also an AISD third grade teacher) how her class uses Chromebooks, and she told me that has changed dramatically over the past few years. She said that before COVID, her class had to share devices with up to three other classrooms at school, but once the pandemic struck and students were learning remotely, that changed. Now every student in their classroom / school has an individual Chromebook, although with the return of hybrid and in-person learning models, use cases are evolving. She said her in-person students, in particular, are tired of the devices, but the district is fully embracing a blended learning model. “We went from zero to 100 overnight, and then a lot of kids quickly burned out.” The key, she said, is to strike a balance between in-person and online learning. “We don’t want to give up technology at all,” she said.

Pick up and go ChromebookSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

But whether it’s a tablet like a locked iPad or a laptop like an education-focused Chromebook, experts seem to think these devices can and should be used with older students. youth.

I spoke to Matthew Johnson, director of education for MediaSmarts, Canadian Center for Digital and Media Literacy. Johnson said Chromebooks are very suitable for students of this particular age.

“What really matters is that they are part of a supervised and guided experience and that a lot of thought has been given to how they can be used to meet the special needs of preschoolers and children. kindergarten, ”Johnson said.

Johnson added that Chromebooks are great for actively motivating kids to use technology to create and learn, with use cases of basic photography, stop-motion animation, and reading. Having a dedicated device that can be used to create art, read, and even watch educational and age-appropriate videos (under supervision) can be truly mind-developing.

Parents and teachers should encourage their young students to use Chromebooks as tools for discovery and exploration.

“It takes a lot of thought and careful planning on the part of teachers and parents,” Johnson said. But, he adds, what children do with the devices matters.

“Getting your kids involved in projects takes a bit more upfront investment and a bit more time,” Johnson said, but the results can be worth it. “Doing media, citizen science, web quests… these are all great ways to show them that their use of the screen doesn’t have to be passive… it can be creative. . that it can be educational …. and that they can use it to accomplish things. “

Here’s what device makers have to say

Have a Chromebook, travelSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

We’ve also reached out to some of the major manufacturers of educational Chromebooks. While they, of course, supported the idea of ​​younger students using their devices, they also had some important thoughts to share.

Bill Avey, global head of education at HP, said his company is taking a thoughtful approach to this issue.

“As with any technology, it depends on how it will be used. Chrome OS devices and Chromebooks can add a valuable educational experience for age groups, from kindergarten to post-secondary and beyond,” did he declare.

Avey added that: “Chromebooks with touchscreen navigation and the right educational software can be extremely engaging for your students before they learn reading, navigation, or keyboard skills. For example, a kindergarten child might practice sound recognition and access a digital book to read with the right literacy software. As students develop skills and knowledge, Chrome OS devices can meet their growing needs and capabilities. “

Kelly Odle said her employer, Acer, “says Chromebooks are suitable devices for all K-12 students. That said, the models have been designed to suit this wide range of ages from 5 to 5. at 18 years old”. Odle added that for younger students, “Acer recommends schools and parents consider smaller, durable Chromebooks with additional security features to protect younger students and increase product return on investment.” Acer is also one of the manufacturers who has touted that its Chromebooks meet major toy safety standards so their young users are protected from harmful chemicals and sharp edges.

Ultimately, as a parent or guardian, the decision of whether or not to give your young child a Chromebook or tech device is up to you. There are many valid reasons to do so, whether for education, entertainment or discovery. As with all good things, Chromebooks should be used with purpose and in moderation and can be a powerful tool in the development of a young child.

The ASUS Chromebook C214 Flip was our top pick as the best Chromebook for young children and older students because it’s a reliable, durable, and budget-friendly laptop.

Our choice

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

Child safety

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 has been out for a while now, but it’s still our favorite Chromebook for young children. It can handle drips, dirt, and spills, and it performs surprisingly for its price. If you can opt for the model with the built-in stylus for more creative fun.

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Norma A. Roth