Now that I have been in a hybrid district #HybridEdu (Microsoft AND Google) for over a year, I thought it might be a good time to update this post along with updated links and announcements coming out of ISTE 2019 along with a Wakelet collection of comparison charts for various apps to help you decide when to use which app (current charts for Forms, PowerPoint/Slides, and Docs/Word).
Full disclosure: We use Microsoft, Google, AND Apple products, both professionally and personally. Between us, we have multiple certifications in Microsoft and K is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Google Certified Educator (level 2), and Apple Teacher.
For work and home, we use Windows 10 PCs, Surfaces, Macs, iPads, Chromebooks, and have Android phones from Google Fi. (We also use a Google Home, Amazon Echo, Invoke with Cortana, and Siri, but home assistants is a different blogpost.)
All platforms have their advantages and we respect those who may be devoted to a specific platform or product. We are not paid by any of the companies and/or products we discuss in our blogposts. You will ALWAYS read our honest thoughts and opinions from our personal experiences.
I (K) read some interesting Tweets with articles that triggered my brain comparing platforms and digital inking. Honestly, I’d love to find a study that compares note taking on a laptop (AKA typing) vs. digital inking (this article compares paper inking and this research compares a laptop to a Surface with digital inking.)
While we understand why districts have purchased Chromebooks ($), G read an article from 2014 which reported that 85% of Chromebooks are in education. His response was that that means only 15% are in the global market. Another article around that time talked about over 60% of the global market using Microsoft. My favorite quote: “In 2016, devices running Android and Chrome made up 23 percent of the mobile market outside the United States, compared with 65 percent for Microsoft’s Windows, according to Futuresource.” (From what I can tell, they define “mobile” as non-desktops, such as laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets.)
This is starting to shift, however, according to Futuresource Consultings’ 2019 report, a recommended read.
Kids are digital natives and seem to do fine, in my observation, using both, but, to us, Microsoft has OneNote, digital inking in multiple apps, and accessibility features like the Learning Tools with Immersive Reader. (As a former special education teacher, the accessibility alone is a deciding factor.)
It is important to remember that “digital native”, however, does not mean students are automatically fluent in technology, but that is another blogpost. Just because I am originally from the Chicago area does not mean I can make Chicago pizza (but I DEFINITELY can eat it! @LouMalnatis)
On the flip side, Google has Google Keep which can be compared to index cards or sticky notes. I used it with a 4th grade class for research report note-taking because they could rearrange the cards to organize their report. I’ve used Google Earth in combination with OneNote Class notebook.
How do we best prepare our students for a world market? How often do you see “Microsoft Office” in an employment listing? How often do you see familiarity with “Google Suite” listed as a job requirement?
Some articles regarding technology and students that might also interest you:
Both articles discuss how students learn. I loved the lean forward/lean back portion of the first article and found the typing vs. paper note taking interesting in the second. Students can write notes, draw images to help jog memory, and even organize them around (if digital, not paper). In OneNote, that area is unlimited versus paper where you may need to shuffle through a few sheets on a single topic. Plus, you can insert images, videos, PowerPoints, etc., and the search feature is AMAZING! It can even search text IN images that I inserted.
These confirm why we need Office 365 with OneNote AND should try to get touchscreen devices and styluses into ALL students’ hands!
Final thought – In fall 2018, my district added Google and we went hybrid. Here’s what I noticed. Students mostly view them as apps and programs they can choose from, bouncing between them, rather than seeing only one platform or the other. Many adults, however, appear to see it as one or the other, Google vs. Microsoft.
BOTH have great things to offer. I am grateful to be in a #HybridEdu district. Mike Tholfsen from Microsoft tweeted incredible news in June, 2019, for those who would like access to both. Microsoft Education announced the ability to log into Office 365 from Google Edu accounts.
(Many other Microsoft EDU announcements came out in June around the ISTE conference. You can view my Wakelet collection which features many, if not all, of them, from Microsoft or my Wakelet collection of the Google announcements.)
While we both still lean towards Microsoft because of the accessibility tools like the new mouse pointer options in 1903, Immersive Reader (which they just opened up in June, 2019, to 3rd party apps), and its use in the global market, we see the benefits of choice, allowing students to determine which works best for them as individuals.