Google gave away the Wi-Fi version of the new Chromebook Pixel as the show freebie at Google I/O this year. I didn’t have much use for it as I wasn’t intending to develop ChromeOS apps, and I’ve gotten used to surfing the web with an iPad, so the Chromebook just sat around unused.
Around that time, we signed up an account for our older daughter at the math practice site IXL just so she can fulfill her urge to do more math problems (really!) without the house being inundated with these Costco math workbooks.
At first we had her using a regular laptop to log onto the site, but she was having trouble with the mouse (she’ a first grader) and every once in a while she’d click in the wrong spot and close the window, or click on the back button and mess everything up. Plus the Windows laptop she was using – despite being quad core or something like that – took forever to boot and getting the browser going, etc. It wasn’t really that kid-friendly.
Then we started trying to access IXL on an iPad. That had some advantages – startup is now much easier. And she really liked the touch screen for navigation. But now the web page is too small and she is continuing having to zoom in and out by pinching without a 100% success rate. And the virtual keyboard on the iPad screen just wasn’t working out.
Then one day, as she was waiting for the Windows laptop to boot, I noticed the Pixel sitting there with a layer of dust on it.
I thought it might be fun to see how IXL works on the Pixel and everything just came together for her with the Pixel. The machine is lightweight with a size that she can carry around easily. It starts incredibly fast and isn’t that troublesome to get the browser up. She has a real keyboard to type on, and she can maneuver around the site with the touch screen and not have to use the mouse/touchpad. She loves it! And I think we’ve found the perfect machine for her!
With many schools moving to Common Core next year and assessments being performed more and more on computers rather than paper, having the right kind of hardware and interfaces is going to become even more important for schools.