Mike, Mark and Adrian discuss what tool and device is best in education

Google v Microsoft V Apple



0:00:00 – Where are we recording this podcast?
0:01:50 – The 1 question we get asked more than any other?
0:02:30 – What is exciting us at the moment in the technology space
0:03:35 – what is Apple classroom able to do / what problems can it solve?
0:05:35 – How technical is it to setup Apple Classroom?
0:07:00 – Mark makes an interesting comparison of Apple classroom
0:08:35 – The downside of Apple classroom and iBooks
0:09:30 – Does Apple classroom have any advantages over Google classroom? And what features are missing
0:11:10 Lets talk about workflow – If you have Google and and Apple products – would you use Google docs or Pages?
0:12:00 In an ideal world what tools would you use?
0:14:40 – Mike questions the notion that iOS is intuitive?
0:16:10 Microsoft teams
0:18:25 – we go tool for tool Word v’s Google Docs V’s Pages
0:20:35 – Marks explains the potential of iTunesU
0:21:35 – The design history & roadmap for Apple, Google & Microsoft
0:23:30 – the conundrum of being forced to choose 1 tool – so why do schools and businesses do this?
0:26:10 What about industry standards – Can’t students just pick up any tool?
0:28:18 What is better Keynote, Google Slides and PowerPoint – why?
0:29:50 – What is better for note-taking? Google Keep, Apple Notes and Microsoft sticky notes
0:32:30 – What is better? OneNote Class Notebook, iTunesU, Apple Classroom
035:02 – What device is best, a Chromebook, an iPad, PC
0:37:10 – How do you measure a return on investment for your IT spend? Does more spending = better learning?
0:40:30 – What tool is better for thinking?
0:42:10 – Should students learn to sketchnote?
0:43:00 Patti Dobrowolski on creativity and problem solving
0:45:20 – The power of handwriting
0:46:00 – Do you know of a school that is using iPad Pro’s – we’d love to speak with you
0:45:53 – What do you need to consider if you want to future proof your technology spend?

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Transcript: Mike Mark and Adrian discuss what tool and device is best in education

Mike: We’re just driving through the Texas countryside, on our way to Houston, and in the car, we’ve got myself, Mike, we’ve got Mark and Adrian in the backseat.

He sounds a long way away.

Adrian: I’m a long way away!

Mike: So, we’re driving through the country side, we’re wondering a whole range of things and we thought we might just record some of our conversation as we drive along.

First thing we’re wondering is how is it that when we’re driving on a freeway and the speed limit is 75mph and we’re driving along at about 90mph and we’re being passed by cars. It looks like we’re standing still.

So, if anyone in America wants to leave comments or share notes or email us at support@usingtechnologybetter.com and let us know why that is. We’d love to know. It’s just one of those cultural things that we are aware of…

Mark: We tried Googling it but it didn’t come up with anything.

Mike: That’s right. And where are all the police, like I don’t get it. Normally in Australia and New Zealand, you would have passed a lot of police people on the side of the road.

Mark: I’ll tell you where I’ve seen them. Shopping centers.

Mike: Yeah, they’re everywhere in shopping centers.

Mark: Yeah, they’re in the malls, wherever there’s air conditioning.


Mike: After 6 o’clock at night they’re still a felt temperature or over 41 degrees Celsius, and what does it say on the car dash? 93. So, yeah that’s hot enough for me, I’ll tell you now.

Anyhow let’s talk about some of the stuff we’ve been discussing as we’ve been driving along now. Please excuse any of the noise in the background. We’re enjoying the countryside. So, we’ve been chatting about Google, Apple and Microsoft, and I guess as  a company we’re really, I don’t know, blessed to have trainers who are certified in all three and we often have quite rigorous discussions and debates about which app is better, which platform is better, who’s doing what better, which device is better.

And of course, we’ve always got to start by explaining what better means because what’s better for one person is not necessarily better for another person. So, you know, people ask us all the time, you know, what devices should I buy? That’s completely the wrong question to start a discussion on. So, we don’t want to start there.

So, tell me Adrian, what’s exciting you at the moment in terms of either of the platforms?

Adrian: For me, I reckon what Apple is starting to do in the education space is really good. They’re jumping into their classroom kind of environment, they’ve done that really nicely. We went to a demo the other week with a just a random Apple classroom and run off some Bluetooth over your iPad, got Apple IOS 2.3, but you can’t punch stuff out with the kids, you can freeze their iPad, you can see what each kid’s doing. You don’t need a massive set up for it, you just need to let the kids sign in with the code and it just seems to work unbelievably well.

Really smooth, sits really well within the ecosystem, links between pages and other’s keynote, all those things beautifully. Links in to iBook’s as well, so it’s quite amazing what they’ve done to make it all work beautifully within our ecosystem. So, whether they’ve looked at the other round doing things and trying to polish it up it up or it’s been on the radar for a bit, they’ve only just released it. But to me that’s a bit of a big step forward for them.

Mike: Alright, so I hadn’t seen Apple Classroom at all, so walk me through, what’s a pain point that they’re been trying to solve with these products?

Adrian: They’re trying to solve pain point of all the kids on their iPad in the classroom, could you just go to this app please, or could start writing in this page’s doc, or could you go to the iBook and look at this page, or go to this website? All those kinds of things where if you’ve got younger kids and they’ve got to type in a URL, or go to a website on their browser, or pick a favorite, then you’ve got that kind of element of what could possibly go wrong, will go wrong. But this way you can kind of control it and if you say to the kids, “eye’s up here, I need you to look at me”, you can just lock all their screens in one hit.

And then you can actually give some information away they go, or one of the teachers used an example of a kid, not quite being on task, and they could see that because they’re off on a different browser tab, or something. So, they could just lock their one iPad, get eye contact with the kid, they know that the kid knows that they know that they know the they’re doing something wrong and then the kid gets corrected and gets straight back along without making a big fuss of it. Without jumping in the air and saying, “show me what you’re doing”, it’s just that natural type of correction and pointing in the right direction.

Mark:And it maintains that relationship, doesn’t it?


Where they’ve not caught them out, yeah.

Adrian: You’re not embarrassing the kid in front of anyone else. And the same with that kind of differentiation, you can open up different tabs for different kids. You can see the blue group in the corner, but the blue group knows they might be the slow group. They can alter it so they might begin slightly different views in what they’re seeing, the teacher can control that from the front. But also, as soon as the kid moves out of the classroom, out of the Bluetooth range, it drops right out. So, they’ve got an element of kids accessing your stuff from another classroom, or those kinds of things, that doesn’t happen. So, it seems to look pretty good.

Mike: So, Mark, you’re looking in to the technical aspect of that, how technical is it to run this software?

Mark: Okay, so this is the thing, right? So, when this first came out, this app, I got all excited about it. I thought right I’m going to jump in and have a look at it, see how easy it is to set up. And when I had that, ‘I’m sorry, you must have an MDM to have this set up’; that’s when I realized that the majority of schools out there, first of all, a lot of them are still getting their heads round what an MDM is and how it needs to be attached to the DEP and the VVP, so they just wouldn’t go there.

Mike:Explain what they are.

Mark: Yeah, you love these acronyms, don’t you? The Device Enrolment Program, you can do that through Apple, they have an online site you have to go to and you register your school and then every time you buy a device, you register that device serial number with your DEP account and when I open up a box, it’s all ready to go.


Mark: Device Enrolment Program, yeah. You just google it, go ‘DEP apple account‘, you’ll be able to hit it.

Alright, MDM?

Mark: Yeah, so that’s your Mobile Device Manager. There are lots of different kinds, there’s a product called ‘Light Speed‘, there’s another one called ‘Mosyle‘ and ‘Casper‘ quite popular in Australia.

So, that’s where you set up an account online with one of these third parties. Apple used to have, well they still have, Apple Configurator, but a lot of schools are jumping on to these MDM’s called ‘Light Speed’ on so on and when I do that, I have an online dashboard that I configure all of my iPad to and if I buy an app license I can send that app through my iMac, or my MacBook and I can just have that go wirelessly to that iPad. So, it’s a way of keeping a tab on all of your updates and App your management that needs to go out.

So, the only way you used to be able to use Apple Classroom, on the app, was through your MDM, but now anybody can join. They’ve kind of made that next step easier, so as long as you have an iPad Air, or an iPad mini app, then you’re able to install IOS 10.3, then you can download that Apple Classroom.

Adrian: Apart from those in Australia, that’s an iPad Air, not an iPad year, just in case you didn’t pick up that accent.

Mark: I have to be tri-lingual, so I’m in America and I have to say different as Australian. Today I learnt not to say ‘Zeds’ over here, ‘Z’s’ instead.

Mike: Don’t say ‘Control Zed’ when you’re over here, they look at you funny.

Mark: Can I just like to back up, one of the reasons that I think this is so good, if you think about the what the Interactive Whiteboard’s were, the IWBs. If you think about it Adrian, have you thought about it in terms of the Apple Classroom app being like an Interactive Whiteboard, that’s been chopped up into lots of different pieces around the room?

So, if I have an interactive app that I want the kids to be able to work on, or pages, document, or something, I can then just share it out to everybody in the classroom, or the small group that I’m working with, isn’t it? That’s effectively what it is, you’ve got a tiny little interactive whiteboard that the teacher’s managing, for free.

Adrian: For free, in a simple spot. Maybe the downfall is now, in iOS 10 and up, you get pages, numbers, keynote, iMovie and Garage Band all there, so it’s all really an open device. If you only go to an iBook, you have to have that on all the kid’s devices, so you’d have to manage that through MDM and make sure it was there.

But if you, like you said okay kids are you able to open the iBook on ‘History of the Russian Revolution’ and turn to page 16, if you did that in real life with little kids, or even teenage boys, whose frontal lobes haven’t quite developed yet, saying open a book and turn to page 16 you’ve probably lost half a lesson. But with Apple Classroom, you can just set it up on yours and go, open to page 13, and the iBook will open up and go straight to page 13 for the kids. So, you’ve actually removed that element of confusion, and then they can go on to the research stuff themselves.

Mark: I’m looking forward to your class of young kids studying the Russian Revolution.

Adrian: Very advanced in Australia, compared to New Zealand Mark.

Mark: Obviously, obviously.

Mike: So, what’s Apple Classroom got that say Google Classroom or I guess Microsoft Classroom’s just been decommissioned, but what the other platforms don’t have, is there an advantage?

Adrian: I think the advantage is, for those schools who have iPads, they have been wrestling with, “how do we get the functionality of Google Classroom easily on our iPads, so we can manage the apps?” And jump in and out, you can open a webpage, so if you wanted to go and jump into Google Classroom via Apple Classroom you could, I think it just makes it a lot easier for that one place to manage everything.

It hasn’t got the same kind of, at the moment, the same kind of functionality to be able to share a document individually to every kid, I think, I could be wrong. Whereas Google you can in Google Classroom. I would imagine the next generations the bring more stuff out, bring more stuff out I reckon those would go next, the sharing of the individual documents, so that you can see and edit and give feedback in real time with the kids.

It’s not interlinked with the email program like Google Classroom is. So, I’d really like to sit down in a while and just go head to head right next to them and see who can do this, see who can do this and see how it rolls to compare them. I think the collaboration, ease of collaborations inside Google Classroom isn’t going to be the same as Apple Classroom.

Mike: So, let’s talk about workflow for a second. You have kids on an iPad, you’ve also got a Google apps, or G Suite set up in your school. If you’re going to collaborate, are you going to collaborate on Pages, or are you going to collaborate in Google apps?

Mark: Depending on the device you’ve got, doesn’t it?  If you’ve got Chromebooks, then you’re going to go Google Docs.

Mike: Why wouldn’t you go Google on an iPad?

Adrian: I’d go Google Docs on an iPad, just for functionality of pages and numbers. What you can do on your desktop, you can do on an iPad and Keynote, you’ve got the full-blown version of Keynote sitting in your iPad, as well as Garage Band and iMovie. So, I’d be nearly tempted to use the collaboration features within those, in those eco systems and really learn how to use those Apps well as Green fielding. If I was in a school that’s got iPad and I go down the Google pathway, I’d probably use Apple Classroom, as one platform for everything and just it in my docs and things in Google Docs, because that’s what the kids will be used to and what we’ve got set up.

Mike: Perfect, so in an ideal world what would you suggest, like just say, I’m a big advocate for Google and Microsoft working together, just using Google Docs for collaboration, so easy, so lightweight, so quick. I mean it’s just fantastic.

Mark: It’s fluid, right?

Mike: Yeah and then, you compare that to say, Microsoft Word, collaboration. Yes you can do it but it’s not as good, it’s still a bit buggy and it’s slow. But then OneNote. Nothing compares to OneNote in terms of those educational apps in my opinion.

So, for me, putting Google Docs in OneNote, using that as your central hub, that to me is just amazing.

So, to say you’re an Apple school, you’ve got access to OneNote, you’ve got access to Google Docs, plus all the Apple stuff, would that work flow look like for you?

Mark: I think OneNote, and all the Microsoft apps that they have on iOS,  work incredibly well. So, we work with our service pros in OneNote, we do that a lot for work pro and sometimes I prefer to use OneNote on my MacBook and on my iPad than I do on the surface.

Mike: Right, why’s that?

Mark: Well, two reasons probably. One is I’m probably more familiar with the way that Apple use their operator systems and their user interface so I’m just kind of used to that look and feel and the way everything moves around in jives. But yeah, I think that when you’re an Apple user, and your used to the way all those Apps work together. Like, for example, if I wanted to screenshot, because I’m not so familiar in the Microsoft world, I have to kind of think about that. It’s not intuitive to me, it’s not like I can fast brain it. [That was a big bump.]

Mike: Yeah, it was huge

Mark: But yeah, so that’s probably one of the reasons. But the other reason, if I was able to get, you know, this is why I keep banging on about using an iPad pro with a pencil, I think that would be the perfect synergy. If you’ve got the power and that, the way that the Microsoft OneNote program works and you’ve got that with the Apple hardware, and the fact that you can tie in all those other apps, yeah, I think that would just be the perfect combination. Because if you said to someone Adrian, a lot of people say what makes an Apple iPad so good, it’s the apps, isn’t it?

Adrian: Yeah.

Mark: That apps are just second to none.

Adrian: It’s intuitive.

Mark: Yeah, but for a long time, I’d say for the last 3 or 4 years, a lot of teachers are saying to me, “yeah the apps are so good but I’m finding it really difficult”. That, one, getting them set up, and two, maintain, and find out how to make them fit together. That’s why I think Apple have hit the nail on the head, with this Classroom app.

Mike: Right, so Adrian its intuiting. For me, it’s not, because I don’t use it. So, maybe it’s intuitive to those who know how to use it.

Adrian: Okay, here’s my Africa story. I ran a program when we take kids overseas and I work in remote schools in the Kalahari Desert. We took iPads there 4 years ago and these kids have never, ever seen an iPad in their life, they had no idea what it was. They then got mobile phones, some had touch screens on their phones, some of them didn’t. Most of them had the Nokia kind of type things.

We showed them an iPad, showed them how to make a movie, and they kind of got that. They played around with it really well. We showed them how to use Garage Band and that was it, we lost them. I would come in every day and record tracks and sing them, doing raps, but then punch them out and put them to a movie they’d made, and we showed them nothing. It was unbelievable, I had never seen anything like it. So, that’s what I mean by intuitive, I think sometimes we overthink it.

And we try and think, “how do I do this, how do I do that?” If we just go naturally, it kind of works there and that’s why I think that Apple eco system in IOS is getting better for that, with the pace it is. The second, third party apps that you buy in, you’ve got to think a little bit about how they roll, but generally, the formats are the same spot in every single app, if you want to do this, it’s the same kind of feel in every single app.

Mark: Yeah, the share button, once you understand the share button you know what that does.

Adrian: Yeah.

Mike: So, let’s talk about Microsoft Teams for a second, because we had a little bit of a look at that at ISTE . Obviously, Microsoft Classroom is being decommissioned and Teams is replacing it.

I really liked the functionality of Teams, and what that brings to the table in terms of that one central place where you can have now, not just you’re OneNote, which became that central place, but now you’ve got conversations, you’ve got assignments, everything’s just linking in to that one central hub.

So, it’ll be interesting to see what schools start to do with that, I think it’s very easy to set up, in terms of you don’t need a whole lot of technical support, or MDMs, and all the other acronyms you tried to drop on us just before. It just seems to work straight out of the browser, which I think is fantastic as well. Adrian, you sat in a bit of a Team session, was there anything that stood out for you about that?

Adrian: What stood out for me is that, as you said, you get a thread of conversations, you can set up different groups, which I think they’re called sessions, I can’t remember exactly what they’re called, which would be a class. And inside, they’d have different tabs running. So, you might have assignments, you might have class notes, you might have resources and the kids can all be in there live, and you can comment back and forth live, you can DM live out of that.

For a kid, fairly simple, but the thing that excites me once it starts getting more legs to it is the ability, because their using AI, what their calling their Bots, do a lot of work in the background. So, what they’re talking about it if you mark a piece of work, where you give a grade, then they’re hoping they’ll get to the stage where the bots will see that and they can populate your LMS, out of the teams there.

So, the LMS is your Learning Management System, for your school. So, therefore you’ve got one spot where you could be marking, giving feedback to kids’ real time, keeping track of how they’re going against the calendar, and these bots are then populating your LMS with stuff, so you don’t have to think about doing it yourself.

Mike:How many acronyms do you think we can drop in the podcast?

Adrian: I reckon I could get a few…

Mark: You didn’t even pull them out. I get told off.

Adrian: We could put in a few MRIEs if you wanted to.

Mike:Alright, let’s go tool for tool. So, if you had to choose one, you had access to everything but you had to choose one tool, what would you choose? Ready? So, Google Docs, Pages and Microsoft Word in the Cloud? Let’s go primary school?

Adrian: Primary school? Okay, Pages

Mark: Same! I was going to say that too.

Adrian: Video loads straight away, everything is just easy, easy, easy.

Mark: But what do we use Adrian, what do we use mostly?

Adrian: We use Google Docs.

Mark:Yeah, why’s that?

Adrian: Because we’re not on an ecosystem that supports…

You and I are

Mark: Yeah, but most of our work is isolated to just us.

Adrian: Most schools have got a hot spot, it’s Green fielding.

Mike: Maybe you should explain that.

Adrian: Okay, so Green fielding is called starting from scratch. You walk into a brand-new building and people say, “what do you want to be doing?” [We’re about to go into Leon here in Texas.]

Mark: I’ve never heard of that phrase before, Green fielding.

Adrian: Okay so, I’m starting, you’ve got a big new building, I can do anything you want in it.

Mark: That’s cool,

Mike: It’s the opposite of Blue Skying.

Mark: what’s that? Like having your own vision?

Mike: “Lets just blue sky that” – I think I just vomited a bit lol

Adrian: I would head down the Apple ecosystem because I think your iPad is really good for your Junior years. Then you can keep your iPad through and I’m assuming that cash is not an issue?

Mike: Nope.

Adrian: I’d go iPads Junior, maybe iPad Pro for Senior School and if you really wanted to get grungy into things like that, you could probably grab a MacBook, with the keyboard and stuff. I think that would be perfect. Because then because that eco system would work, you could use Google easily, you could also run Microsoft really easily. But the way in which the apps all talk together inside Apple is just seamless. You know, the old ends in Apple just works, that’s where I would go. If I was starting from completely afresh and I had the cash.

Mark:Creativity apps on their own…

Mike: we’ll get to that in a second. So, what about high school? So, in terms of the Docs, Word and Pages?

Mark:Yeah, for me, at high school, I don’t think a lot of schools are actually tapping into the potential of iTunes U? I think if you show people what it can do and the assignment setting and students can submit that work, teachers can send feedback, just like they can with Google Classrooms, I think that’s just a fantastic way of running things.

And, schools that are doing it really well are just loving it. Students are continuing to upload material, even after they finish the year, or finished the course, they’re going back in and submitting work and they’re submitting course materials for other students. So, it’s something that when you show people how it works and how it goes then they fly with it, it’s amazing.

Adrian: No one’s got the same kind of ability to collaborate smoothly and in such ease in that way as Google has. But I agree with you Mark, I think it’s kind of where I would be sitting too.

Mark: I often have this conversation with people, because people are kind of, just realizing a lot of the schools I work for have Google and iPads and sort of, the last time they touched a Microsoft product with back in the early 2000’s. And so, I explain it to them, sort of talking about how Google started off in the clouid. So, everything that they do is very streamlined, very fluid, very fast and efficient.

Microsoft started off and I don’t know, tell me if I’m wrong, I’ll go back and tell everybody after – maybe retract my comment! Microsoft started off as a desktop, you know, heavy computer based software company. So, their apps and all their software are very powerful, very feature-rich but they’re working on the collaboration and that’s happening, isn’t it?


Would you say that’s worthwhile that their kind of meeting in the middle. So, their fluid in the cloud, really powerful on your desktop, they’re both kind of meeting in the middle. Because if you look at Google apps, they’re actually adding functionality all the time, aren’t they? Whilst trying to maintain their fluidity of up down. And then Apple are kind of in the middle, aren’t they?

Adrian: Yeah.

Mark: Or would you say they’re probably pretty much like Microsoft at the moment? Very powerful products but they’re trying to work on their collaborative.

Adrian:Yeah, yeah. And they’re probably slightly better with their Cloud based apps, because you can go on iCloud on any device and open up pages in the Cloud.

Mike: You can do that with Microsoft.

Adrian: I think the feel of pages in the Cloud is better than the feel of Microsoft Word in the cloud, I think. I just think their functionality in there is nearly exactly the same as your desktop, whereas in Microsoft you’re lose a bit between the two. And also, when you’re syncing between your desktop and your Cloud based collaborators in Microsoft Word, it is clunky, it’s still not quite there. It’s getting a lot better than what it was a couple of years ago.

Mike: So, let’s go and talk tool for tool. You’ve got to stick to the tool though, alright? So, you can’t deviate out, you just got to stay with it.


Mike: So, we’re talking about Word and so on and then we ended up all over the shop. So, let’s talk Word versus Google versus Pages, stick just to the app environment. What are you going to go for in the browser? So, primary school you’re going to go…?

Mark: I honestly find it really hard to pick! I find it hard to pick.

Adrian: I’m going to go with pages

Mike:Okay, you’re going with Pages for primary school.

Mike: I’m going Google Docs for primary.

Mark: Right.

Mike: What are you going for?

Mark: I’ll go for Pages

Mike: You’re going for Pages?

Mark: Yeah.

Mike: In the high school, what are you going to go?

Mark: I honestly don’t know. I think they’ve all got pros and cons.

Mike:They do, but you have to choose one, which one are you going to choose?

Adrian: It’s like if we don’t get the right one we don’t get out of the car, do we?

Mike: That`s right, you’re not getting dinner tonight. No seriously, what are you going to choose? You’re an IT director, you’ve got to choose one. For high school. That’s tool for tool.

Adrian: I don’t think you can answer tool for tool because you’re forcing us down this pathway.

Mike: No, it’s just out of interest.

Mark: You need to talk devices, so what device are we on?

Mike:Get off the fence.

Mark: So, don’t worry about devices. So, just assume you’ve got the best device for that product, so if it’s Pages we’ve all got iPad Pros and keyboards.

Mike: Okay let’s go with that.

Mark: Yeah, I’d go Pages.

Mike:For high school?

Mark: Yeah.

Mike: You’re kidding me?

Mark: Nope I’m not.

Adrian: Because then I could put it into an iBook. I can then punch it out through…there’s so many things that I could do with it.

Mark: Tell me how many times, and I’m not a high school teacher so I work with high school teachers now but, you know, obviously primary trained, elementary trained. But, how many high school students enjoy collaborating on a Google Doc?

Adrian: They’re getting better because the teachers are understanding how to use it for good learning.

Mark: But how often do they do it though?

Mike: A fair bit I’d say.

Mark: Really?

Adrian: Yeah, I think if you’re…

I mean, I use Google Docs all the time in my work last year and this year that’s where i’m living, but if I want to use the extra functionality that’s inside the Apple ecosystem, Pages works really well.

But if it was just a lightweight thing in the school, and I wanted the kids to collaborate and research very easily and those kinds of things, Google beats Microsoft, in Docs versus Web.

Mike: You show me one high school that’s using Pages for collaboration and kids are enjoying it.

Mark: It’s because they’ve all got really cheap devices though. They’ve all got Chromebooks or cheap Microsoft, running Windows 10, that’s the reason they go for it. If it didn’t matter about how much the device cost…

Mike:Then you’ve also got a lot of discussion around industry standard. How many businesses, I mean, in all the corporate training we do, how many corporates are saying Pages is better?

Mark: But I thought that argument was for fun, because students can swap from one platform to another, and the device they’re using now is going to be different in 5 years anyway.

Mike:You see the students that have come out just using Google Docs and they go into a work environment try and use Word, that’s a ridiculous comment I think. made by teachers haven’t been out in the real world for ages.

Mark: Yeah, I’m just asking the question.

Mike: That’s ridiculous. Industry standard matters.

[bctt tweet=”Industry standards and #futureready skills are absolutely necessary for S’s. Don’t buy into the myth that S’s will just pick up the skill” username=”mikereading”]


Mike: Absolutely it does. And just, that would be the same as saying we’re going to do our corporate training for businesses that are going Google, we’d just say that’s easier than Word, you should be able to do this but we’re going to spend hours training them how to use it.

Mark: Unless they go work at Apple.

Because it’s different.


Mike: Well, hang on a second, what documents do Apple send us when they want us to get us to sign something?

Mark: I don’t know. They send us PDF’s don’t they?

Mike: the send us Word documents. So, Apple aren’t even using Pages into their corporate stuff.

So, I mean this is the real world that we live in, right?

Mark: Yeah.

Adrian: I reckon if I was going back to the non-green fielding at school. So, if I was in a school where we wondering, we’re trying to work out which direction we’re going to go, that’s going to work for good learning and ease of collaboration, and ease of everything working nicely and one eco system.

Mark: Yeah.

Adrian: I would go Google Docs on a Chromebook, without blinking. I reckon you could do everything people saying, jumping up and down what you need to do, you could go to Chromebook. It’s cheap to be able to follow them, it’s cheap to be able to manage them, you need big pipes internet which we’ve got that. You’ve got a great solution sitting there.

Mike: Alright, except for the whole pen argument but we’ll maybe get to that later…

Mark: There’s someone I follow on a YouTube channel and he works with companies and he says when someone says we want it to be efficient, it’s all about efficiency, that’s what he says. He says he I’d recommend going Google and the Cloud.

Mike:Fair enough. Alright, so next tool that you’ve got to choose between. So, you’ve got to go Keynote, PowerPoint and Google Slides, what would you choose?

Adrian: Keynote.


Mike: Why?

Mark: Well, because we just went to the Keynote feature and I saw all the new things.

Mike: All those shapes in Keynote, yeah let’s spend time talking about how awesome that is.

Adrian: The functionality inside Keynote for really clever, complex presentations.It is fantastic and for that creativity aspect that they’ve got, it’s sensational. It’d be nice to create all my slideshows in Keynote and then download them into a PowerPoint and then change it to the Slides. So, I really like the way in which Keynote works off my IOS device, I can control it, I can get all the notes and now the new version of Keynote, you can have people editing live in the background while you’re presenting. You don’t have to refresh, it just keeps rolling with you.

Mike: That’s an interesting update, isn’t it?

Mark: And a couple of times we’re watching Keynotes that happened, or even people presenting this weekend, as you know I sat with you a couple of times I said, “what do you reckon they made that on?” And you said Keynote, didn’t you?

Adrian: Yeah

Mike: Yeah, I mean they do make very nice presentations, don’t they?

Adrian: Because now in the app version on the phone and on your iPad, there’s only a couple of thing that you can’t do on that’s on the desktop version. It’s so good and so easy to use.

But once again, you’ve got to know how to use it otherwise it’s just like a glorified version of PowerPoint with fewer transitions in it.

Mike: Yeah, fair enough.

Alright, so note taking, so you’ve got Google Keep, what’s the Apple version of that? It’s Apple notes?

Yeah, and then on Microsoft you’ve got your sticky notes, which one would you go for?

Mark: Notes.

Mike: Why?

Mark: They just keep coming out with more functions and with IOS11 coming they’ve got even more.

Adrian: Can you collaborate in Sticky Notes?

Mark: No. You’ve got cleverer notes in IOS11 or IOS10?

Adrian: In 10 you can

Mike:Right, yeah. So, that’s clearly better than Microsoft version of that.

But then what’s taking your Notes in Notes like?

Taking your notes in Notes. You can always split screen, on my iPad so you can have 2 screens running. You just highlight it and cut and drop it, you can drop it in a Pages doc, a Keynote presentation, a numbers thing.

Mark: You can draw inside it. Teachers don’t even know that there’s the little scribbly icon, you can do a drawing inside there.

Mike: I mean you could do that in Microsoft as well, split screen is not that special.

Adrian: No.

But, lets –

[inaudible chatter]

Mike: Now, what’s the IOS version, that’s got what Google Keep doesn’t have?

Mark: I think it’s got, I like the folder system better.


Mark: I like that you can folder along the left-hand side.

Mike:So, is that the same as tagging or it’s different?

Mark: Well, no because you actually see that there is a tagging. Actually, no, yeah, you’re right. The tags do go on the left-hand side.

Adrian: Yeah. You don’t get…Google Keep you can put in reminders, if you’re due a graphic in time and those sorts of things, you can’t do that in Notes.

Mark: Unless they’ve got my Apple Watch. siri, remind me tomorrow to send Mike a birthday card.

Adrian: Yeah that’s not inside Notes though.

Mark: But it siri  connects with it.

Adrian: That’s where Google Keep wins.

Mark:Okay Google would do that, would it? If I said, “okay Google, remind me”, it would send me a reminder and so the Keep can?

Adrian: I don’t think it sends, it just goes to your account, doesn’t it?

Oh no, it does. It would have to be Keep.

Mark: You might as well go to the calendar on your, your reminder calendar on your Google calendar.

Mike:Yeah but Keep and reminders are integrated now, so what else have we got? So, you can collaborate on both?


Yeah, Keep’s integrating really nicely into Google Docs now, also with the Chrome extension you can just save something to Keep really quickly.

ma: Yeah that’s the advantage of that, you can get that really nice little synergy happening between lots of different apps.

Mike: Yeah. Alright so let’s talk, well let’s say OneNote Class Notebook and then you’ve got Google Classroom and then you’ve got Apple Classroom.

Adrian: So, we’re leaving Teams out of this?

Mike: Well, I’m using OneNote Notebook instead of Teams because we haven’t really played…

Mark: So, I’m going to stop you because…

Mike: Let’s say a whole eco system.

Mark: So, Apple Classroom is not like Google Classroom. You’re talking about iTunes U.

Mike: Okay well, let’s go iTunes U then.

Well, I thought you said in Apple Classroom you’re able to push documents.

Mark: Yeah you can, but it’s not a, like an assignment setting.

Mike: Right, so there’s no assignment feature.

Mark: No, no, no, not on an Apple Classroom.

Adrian: But you would link it to an iTunes U course

Mark: So, you’d have to combine the two. So, I guess what you’re talking about, that’s what you’d be talking about. Apple Classroom and…


No Apple Classroom and iTunes U.

Mike: What would you go for?

Mark:That’s what I’d go for.

Mike: Oh, sorry? Say it again.

Mark: So, I’d go Apple Classroom and iTunes U. Because you’ve got the functionality of all the apps that that eco system involve.


Mark: Because I think it pulls in all those collaborative apps and the creative apps on an iPad to that eco system. But, even on its own, would you say regarding that Arian, would you say that that’s…?

Adrian: I think I would go OneNote. OneNote Classroom plus Notebook creator.

Mike: Yeah, whys that?

Adrian: Because I can set up, that resources place where I can build all my content that my kids can have access to anytime, they can copy and drop in their own little area and then when their offline they can still keep on working and the learning can still take place and then it just syncs back up when you get back online again. So, I like that aspect of it.

Mark: But, iTunes U will do that.

Adrian: Yeah, yeah, I’m not finished yet.

Mark: Okay keep going.

Adrian: A love the fact ink on it really well on both sides, the kids and the teachers. And I like that you can, you can flick through. So, I’m thinking secondary here so not primary. I like the way you can flick through it and see where the kids are working at any spot, I think that’s really quite handy. And the way I used it in my math class just seemed to work really, really well.

Mike: Right, yeah.

Yeah, I think to me OneNote, because I can pull in Google Docs, I can pull in all those other resources, I can embed audio, so it comes that multi modal workbook. For me, I think that would be great.

So, let’s wrap it up and say right, let’s say for arguments sake a Chromebook’s going to cost us $450

Mark: With the management?


Yeah, what’s an I Pad’s going to cost you?

Mark:: $450?


Adrian: Yeah, in the US.

Mike: Are they?

Mark: Yeah, they dropped the price.

Adrian: Yeah, they really have dropped the price.

Mike: Alright, let’s say all the devices are the same price.  Taking into account management and functionality of the platform that they best run on, what device would you run? Let’s say primary school, what device would you go for?

Mark: iPad hands down

Adrian: iPad

Mike: Yeah?

ma: Yeah


Mark: Which is counter intuitive because that’s not what I would hear from a lot of teachers based off their kind of knowledge that they have at the moment. But when you should people the latest updates and how things have progressed, yeah.

Mike: So, Adrian, you’d agree?

Adrian: Yeah.

Mike:Alright, and then for high school?

Adrian: I’d go, so we’ve got only Chromebook versus iPad?

Mike: Chromebook versus iPad versus PC.

Adrian: Oh, okay. If I could get a surface pro for that price, I’d go surface pro for high school.

Mike: But you can’t because they’re like way expensive.

Adrian: Okay, so we can’t do that.

Mark: You can’t go iPad Pro with the keyboard?

Mike: Too expensive.

Adrian: I’d go Chromebook.

Mike: Yeah, for high school?

Adrian: Yeah

Mike: Even though you want to use OneNote, so you’re going to lose your pen functionality, but you can still have your touch for $450.

Adrian: Yeah

Mark: So, touch screen Chromebooks is what you’re talking about.

Adrian: I’d rather have a pencil.

Mark: What about a touch screen Windows device, for $450?

Adrian: Yeah, but you can’t write on it like you can with a surface.

Mike: Yeah you can.

Mark:The Notebook we’re talking about to and using from that company in New Zealand

Mike: Yeah, they’re bringing it out a PC with pen.  It’s not surface quality but it’s good.

Adrian: PC with a pen would be great.

Mark: See, I was going to go for just sticking with OneNote on an iPad Pro, with a keyboard.

Adrian: You can’t get that because you don’t have the money to buy an iPad Pro.

Mike: But even so, would you choose iPad Pro over a PC if money wasn’t an issue?

Yeah, haven’t you seen the ads?

Adrian: They’re really flashy and nice.

Mark: They’re just as powerful; just as fluid, just as quick. And because, if you said to me, do you want to go OneNote or iTunes U and Apple Classroom, I would go with OneNote. iTunes U and Apple Classroom.

Mike: Right.

Mark: Yeah.

Adrian: I’d like to try, I mean I’ve seen this stuff on iPads Pros but I’d like to try in a school situation. If I knew give it a crack, rather than seeing the bells and whistles that are in the adverts, because you can see the adverts and you go, “oh that looks really cool”, but I want to see it in a classroom working and seeing if it can do what I hope it would do, for the money you’re going to spend on.

Mike: So, what’s an iPad Pro going to cost you?

Mark: They’re about $1,400.

Mike: So, what’s it going to cost you for a class set?

Adrian: Let me tell you,

Mike:What did you say, Mike? $1,400?

Mark: About $1,400 for the lowest big one.

Adrian: Times a class of 25?

Mark: That’s a keyboard and a pencil

Adrian: $42,000

Mike: Right, and so let’s say a surface pro; what’s the cheapest version of that going to in at about? $8-900.

Mark: Oh, really?

Mike:Yeah for a Pro, not for a surface Book

Mark: Oh, you’re talking the Pro, yeah.

Mike:So, that’s about $27,000

So, you’re saying $13,000 difference. So, I mean are you going to, let’s circle all the way back to the beginning, it’s got to be better for learning.

Yeah, so is that $13,000 in device cost, per class, going to deliver $13,000 worth of improved learning outcomes?

Mark:Crickets over here.

Adrian: I reckon you’d get close.

Mark: Probably not.

Mike:You reckon? Can you reckon you can return…?

Adrian: If the teachers knew how to use it properly and the kids were using it in the way you could, I reckon you’d get pretty close.

Mike:So, you’re going to say that the learning is improved in an Apple eco system, on an iPad Pro, and you would learn more than if would if you were just on a PC or a Chromebook with Google Docs.

Mark: Oh, that’s a –

I think the question is very forward.

Yeah, because like I kind of go with –

Adrian: I feel like he’s trying to taunt us, isn’t he Mark.

Mike: Is that methodology of what do I think is the best tool for the job and then we’ll deal with the finances after that.

So, even the schools that are struggling with low budgets, if they’ve got the desire in the world to make something happen, they find a way, don’t they?

Mike: Of course, they do

Mark: But is there a quality leadership.

Mike:It’s about return on investment as well.

Mark: Over the lifetime of a child? I don’t think it compares. Because you’re just talking about it in terms of the learning that happens within that one year but that’s assuming that the seeds that are sown in this year are just going to stop at the end of that year, they’re growth and stuff.

Mike:Right. But do you think you could produce a, let’s call it a higher quality student, you’re going to improve learning outcomes because they’re on a Pro?

Mark: I think there is definitely potential there for that. Because if you’re thinking about learning in terms of holistically, so not just what am I actually learning from this particular course or paper or assessment. But if you’re talking about creativity and empowerment…

I think that’s incredible.

Mike: See, here’s my issue with the whole debate is when you talk about Chromebooks versus PC versus iPad, everyone wants to talk about the learning but no one really wants to talk about well what’s better for thinking?

Mark: Yeah.

Mike: And when you start to get into some of the research about how we think, you know, quite often I think there’s a case to be said that just a keyboard input is making us dummer

Mark: so I would totally agree with that


Mike: So, it’s definitely depending on the return.

Well, while people say, “oh, you can do 85 or 90% of everything you need to do on a Chromebook”, I don’t know that the thinking process, and therefore the learning outcomes, are that improved. I mean, people will show you that their kids have improved reading skills before they’re on a device, or whatever. But what I’m interested in is well what if we had an even better device, what else could we improve on?

Because it’s kind of like, well, we’ve got an improvement, we’re happy with that. You know what I mean? In terms of like fast boot speed and, you know, disruption levels decreasing, and so on, Chromebook’s are fantastic, easy to manage, you know, they don’t slow down over time. They’ve got some great things to it, so I’m really excited to see the pen being added to a Chromebook but then it brings it up to a PC price anyway.

So, then again you start to think well what am I getting here? But those Android apps where you’ve got to run on a Chromebook are they going to be interesting? Pen functionality is going to be good. But I think whichever way education goes, it’s got to get back towards pen based learning, we just think better that way, cognitive load decreases, all that research. See here for 1 example

Mark: Yeah, yeah

Adrian: It’s interesting in the last Apple Global ADE event, which is Apple Distinguished Educator event I went to in San Diego, a lot of what they showed us was sketch noting.

Mark: Right.

Adrian: Using the pen, or your finger to take notes in images which had really good links to being able to process cognitively what you’re hearing and research coming out of that was really good. So, I kind of think that there’s got to be some sort of pen somewhere in there.

Mike: Have you tried sketch noting?

Adrian: I’ve worked really hard for, concentrate so hard.

Mike: Exactly, like someone tells me, “oh, you need a sketch note because it helps you remember things and it helps you…”. No, it doesn’t, it’s like abysmal. I walk out of there stressed because my pictures look so ugly.

Mark: So, I do sketch drawing when we do visioning at schools. So, we’ll get people drawing what it is they’re trying to achieve and then they’re current reality. The thinking about that, her name is Patti Dobrowolski? I use a lot of her kind of thinking behind this and she has a really good, pattidobrowlski.com I think it is.

She has a really good template that I use in workshops and the design behind that is that as soon as you start drawing, it opens up that creative side of your brain so then your problem-solving thinking opens up and i’m proof of the fact that that is just totally changed my last 3 or 4 years of my life. in terms of  where I was and where I am now.

Mike: Because you’ve drawn something.

Mark: Yeah, like honestly, it’s the little things. Remember the 80\20 rule

Adrian: Yeah

Adrian: If I’ve sketched, if I look back over a sketch note, I can remember what was said at that keynote, whatever, far more than reading through my notes that I won’t have typed.

Adrian: Yeah

Adrian: But I find if I’ve got to work harder to work on writing it down, so I come away exhausted, thinking I’ve missed half of it, but in real life I’d probably retain more.

Mike: Yeah. But thinking about what color should they be….

Adrian: I’ve got past that point, I just draw pictures.

Mark: But is that because you’re learning to drive and put your foot on the accelerator and the clutch and moving, it’s not automatic yet? Like, people who do that. you know, like Sylvia Duckworth, when she does it, is it just automatic because she’s fast braining it now?

Mike: Possibly. It might be some sort of motor memory or something like that, I’d imagine.

Mark: I think the colors are put on after, I don’t think they’re done along the actual. I haven’t done any workshops.

Mike: Well, I was sitting at a workshop at Google and they did it in real time on the wall, it was massive.

Mark: In color?

Mike: In color, the whole bit, it was amazing. So, I think it’s, I don’t know, is it a learned skill, is it something, you know, 20% of the population, are going to connect with in the over.

It’s like every kid should learn how to code, should every kid learn how to do sketch note? I don’t think so.

Mark: Well, I think it definitely keep parents happy because how many of them actually want their kids to have hands on with pencils still, pens and pencils.

Mike: Yeah for sure.

Mark: So, yeah, I think you tapped in to the right thing, it’s about developing their thinking.

Mike: Yeah.

Mark: And I think our brains are hardwired to be able to transfer some knowledge isn’t there, between the hand and the brain.

Adrian: Yeah

Mike: So, that whole handwriting and coming back into education, because you know people used to say, you know, handwriting’s the one thing you have to learn for a test that you’ll never use it again. But I don’t know that that’s necessarily correct, I think it’s a skill that helps you think.

You see these people all the time. I mean, what’s the one thing that Google give you as swag at that events? It’s a notepad and a pen. I think it’s ironic.

Mark: I quite like my solar panel battery chargers, but I guess they can’t be given away laptops and Chromebooks every time you walk into a room.

Mike: So, if we’re thinking future proofing our devices.  bviously, AR is becoming huge, Augmented Reality.

Adrian: Building with the next IOS is a whole lot of AR stuff being built in automatically into it. So, it will be interesting to see what that looks like because I didn’t see anything AR wise that just I thought, wow that’s going to change education.

Mark: Yeah, well it wasn’t even, was there HoloLens there?

Mike: No, not at ISTE, this year I didn’t see any HoloLens . But, you know, we’ve started to see schools buy sense of HoloLens, 5 or 6 for a class and there’s starting to dig into that.

Mark: Like a department, yeah.

Mike: Yeah, like a department would buy 5 or 6 of them and share them out. I mean, as far as I know they’re still about $5,000 per set to buy so they’re quite expensive. So, you’ve got, if you’re going to future proof yourself, you’d be definitely be thinking pen because, you know, most buying cycles of the school, is 3 years for a device.

Mark: Yeah.

Mike: At a minimum. But wonder what in 5 years’ time devices are going to look like, in terms of what our students will be doing. Will they be typing at all? Maybe, you know, voice is becoming huge in all the different platforms. You just speak into a Google Doc now, you can speak into a OneNote doc, can you speak into an Apple Pages?

Mark: Yeah, they do Pages.

I would say they’re probably doing they’ll probably be doing that the longest, wouldn’t you, Adrian?

Adrian: Yeah.

Mike: Other than hitting like function twice into the keyboard? it’s got built in?

Mark: No, Microphone, yeah, it’s been hard built into to the keyboard for a while now on the iPad.

Mike: Alright, and that’s hard built into the Pages app and across everything?

Mark: yeah.

Mike: So, you know, I think voice is going to be massive. That’s probably going to be the one standout in ISTE, out of all the booths. We were really surprised at how many headset microphone stalls there well. So, you know, class sets of headsets that have those inbuilt microphones.

Mark: It’s partly because of environmental design. Classroom design is about a big open space as a learning, so kids are wanting, and teachers are realizing that students are getting quite distracted and so they need to be able to have sound and that sort of interactive element with whatever device they’re using. So, headsets are really, really important in those kinds of classes.

Adrian: But also, you’ve got that, I mean if they’re watching screen cast and things like that, you’ve got these voices all over the place, you’ve got to be isolated a little or it’s just going to be insane.

Mark: Oh yeah, for the teacher.

Adrian: Especially if you’re recording yourself you sound like my parents.

Mark: Yeah, I can hear myself 30 times

Adrian: If you hear it 25 times in the class, you’d go insane.

Mark: Someone was saying at a session I went to.

Mike: So, yeah, I think devices are changing a lot, it’ll be interesting to see. I think, you know, device prices are coming down, that’s a good thing. I think there still needs to be some metric around about how much you spend as to,  where’s the improvement?

And then you need to know what you’re measuring because quite often we say is it making learning better? We have no actual goal around that; we don’t know what does better mean. How do we know we’ve arrived there; how do we know we’re seeing improvement other than a gut feeling that I think students are learning a little bit better because they’re using a device.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah and I think that everybody listening to this would recognize that the worst tool in the hands of the best teacher is going to do better than the best tool in the hands of the worst teacher.

Mike: Exactly.


So, that comes right back to that PD in there and the strong vision and goal setting and having some metric in data around that.

Mark:Pedagogy, relationships, vision…

Mike: Excellent, well let’s pull over and we’ll grab some dinner and then we’ll see what else we can continue to argue about as we go back down. I really do enjoy having passionate people on all sides of the fence on all different products, it makes for a great team.

Very robust discussion, if nothing else and a few good laughs along the way.

So, thanks for tuning in as we’ve been chatting and we’ll talk to you in the next session.

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