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Google vs Apple in Education

By December 23, 20148 Comments

Who would have thought it? Google now have an impressive number of apps available on the iOS App Store which can help, support and enhance learning. Of the 32 available that are optimised for iPad, I can easily see there being use for most of them in a learning space, and that doesn’t include the many other Apps that are iPhone optimised such as the tidy Photo Sphere Camera App. Whether your students are recording 360 degree records of their learning using Photosphere Camera, collaborating on Google Docs, uploading videos to their YouTube channel (don’t forget to engage G+ in GAFE) or simply engaging in their class community pages in Google+ or Google Classroom, there’s something there for most learning occasions.


All the more reason for ensuring that your school is using Google Apps For Education (or GAFE as it is commonly referred to), I think. Let’s not forget too, GAFE comes with unlimited Drive cloud storage space for its users! Couple this with the fact that Google Classroom offers an improving and already impressive number of options for students receiving assignments, turning them in, receiving formative or summative feedback from peers or teacher. Google has been changing their game and it’s impressive.

They’ve been developing their bespoke Google Play store for education with curated App recommendations from educators too. The deployment options for Android tablets are improving. The number of killer educational Apps that were previously only available on iPad are increasingly now available on Android too. The question is, what do schools do now? And what about Chromebooks too? They, along with the Android tablets, pose a significant threat to Apple and their dominance with the iPad. Yes, the iPad is a superior device in many ways, and the MacBook Air is a quite simply beautiful piece of technology, but if you’re looking to drive from A to B, a Ford Fiesta is just as good as a BMW 5 series. Isn’t it?

I’ll leave you to decide and think about it all. I’m firmly sitting on the fence because it isn’t for me to decide. Either way, the landscape is changing, as it always does. Schools should always look to develop learning in their establishments in ways which take on board the viewpoints of all of their stakeholders balancing it of course against budget constraints. Apple for sure won’t be happy for their dominance to change so I am super keen to find out what they have in store next! I think the competition is great for education and for learning. I just hope neither Google or Apple pull the rug out from underneath those schools so heavily invested in either technology.

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson, @ICTEvangelist. Click here to learn more.


  • Piers says:

    I love my iPad, but we use GAfE at school, and it has proven itself successful on so many levels.
    ( Still love MS Office too )
    Variety is the spice of life.

  • D Crawley says:

    A really good blog Mark. I’m very lucky in my school that I was able to get half-class sets of Chromebooks for each class and a full class set of iPads (we only have 5 classes). We’ve had them both for a term now and I’ve found that they work well together. The chromebooks are really functional and the kids really enjoy using them in class (particularly docs, slides and classroom) but like you said the iPads offer something different to the chromebooks and allowing the children to choose the tools for the task has been amazing to watch as their decisions become more informed the more they use them. In my opinion (and if you can) using a mix of both has really benefitted the children…and staff!

  • Great to see you recommending GAFE – it really is a great way to structure and support the sharing of electronic resources and collaborative learning. The issue I have with Apple is the cost. A typical Chromebook will cost under £200 and have a number of benefits over iPads, or other tablets to be fair. With the development of phones/phablets the handheld option for media capture or demonstrations of understanding such as poll apps, drawing apps can be met well with a BYOD provision. The development of GAFE apps on iOS means that schools can really look to save money on tablet purchases, swap their laptops for Chromebooks and spend the money on a decent WiFi network for BYOD….then we might see technology supporting effective learning and no longer being an expensive white elephant.

    Once this is achieved we can deal with the real challenge behind all of this development… students and staff how to work safely and collaboratively.

  • David says:

    Thanks Mark. The school my children are attending are moving to an Apple environment. It’s been a real struggle to come up with the funds to purchase an iPad for each of my two children – I could have bought 6 android devidces for the same cost. Glad to see that Google are providing some sound competition. I live in Cape Town and wonder how on earth the families in the poorer communities are going to cope.

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