Tablet or laptop? Paths for an informed choice

Resources for informed reflection: what to choose between the tablet and the laptop for school?

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Recently, a reader offered us the following challenge:

I would like our teachers to be able to make an informed reflection in order to make a choice between the iPad and the computer. Can you help me?

An excellent question… And so some leads taken from our archives!

Our file Implant the iPad in the secondary in "1 to 1" mode is an excellent starting point to nourish your thinking about the iPad tablet in particular, in addition to offering you good advice to succeed in the educational shift that accompanies any technological shift. You will also find interesting avenues for a possible massive deployment of the tool you choose, if that is what you are aiming for.

About Chromebooks (laptops) read this article which summarizes the workshop offered during one of the Rendez-vous du RÉCIT on the subject, accompanied by the full webinar in replay on demand. All of this will certainly be useful to you! It's important to remember that the Chromebook, although it looks like a laptop, shares more features with the tablet.

See also:

Benefits? Disadvantages? It depends!

I had started to draw up a concrete list of “For” and “Against”, but I quickly abandoned the idea because what appeared in the “For” column could sometimes constitute a “Against” for another milieu! In short, as in any big question, the answer is "it depends"! However, here are some suggested categories of advantages and disadvantages to consider, depending on your own situation.


  • Physical benefits
  • Technical advantages
  • Educational benefits


  • Physical disadvantages
  • Technical disadvantages
  • Pedagogical disadvantages

For example, a physical and educational benefit of the tablet in a given setting may be to favor a paperless classroom. But for an environment where digital technology is new for all staff, this can be an educational barrier! Or, the convenience of cloud computing (storage in a web space accessible from anywhere) becomes an irritant when the wifi connection is unstable.

Tablet or computer ... And why not both?

Some communities have preferred to vary the tools available to students and teachers to offer them a multitude of possibilities rather than imposing a single solution. Who knows, maybe your best choice will turn out… a bit of everything? At this time you will find interesting leads in our file on the BYOD approach, an approach that advocates that young people can bring their own device to school. Even if this is not your choice, you will appreciate the avenues it offers regarding the management of different types of devices.

So… tablet or laptop? I hope that these avenues for reflection will be useful to you! Please feel free to add your own resources on the issue by commenting at the bottom of this article!

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About the Author

Audrey Miller
General manager of École branchée, Audrey holds a graduate degree in educational technologies and a bachelor's degree in public communication. Member of the Order of Excellence in Education of Quebec, she is particularly interested in the professional development of teachers, information in the digital age and media education, while actively creating bridges between the actors of the educational ecosystem since 1999. She is involved these days in particular in Edteq Association and as a member of the ACELF Communications Committee. When she has free time, she is passionate about her children, his rabbits, horses, good wine and... Web programming!

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