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Tim Cook is unimpressed by Chromebook's lead in the classroom
Google’s Chromebooks may have come under fire from student privacy groups recently, but there’s no denying that the push into the education sector has been a success for the company. Apple’s Tim Cook certainly didn’t seem very happy about Google’s lead in the classroom during a recently interview with Buzzfeed.
He avoided mentioning the Chromebook by name, but stated that the low cost computers used in schools were only proving popular because they were the cheapest option around for testing students. He also preferred to simply refer to them as “test machines”.
By this Cook is referring to the transition that many state schools have seen from paper to computerised testing, which is one reason why low cost Chromebooks have seen such speedy adoption. Cook apparently doesn’t think much of standardized testing either, suggesting that Apple’s products instead help kids to “engage on a different level”.
“Assessments don’t create learning … We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no. We create products that are whole solutions for people — that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level.” – Tim Cook
Although testing may be a part of it, the appeal of Google’s educational platform likely extends beyond lower cost hardware. Google’s Apps for Education software includes Gmail, Calendar and Docs, offering a comprehensive set of tools for educators and students.
I suppose it’s not so surprising that Cook failed to appreciate that schools may have actually weighed up the wider opportunity costs when opting for Chromebooks and Google’s Apps for Education over iPads. He doesn’t seem to offer any alternatives to bring cost effective educational tools to the student masses either, although he does hope to host coding events at Apple stores nationwide to encourage kids to get into programming.
Apple is going to have its work cut out for it in the education sector if Google’s forecast that there will be more Chromebooks in schools than all other devices combined by the end of 2015 turns out to be correct.