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The iPad Isn’t the Only Tablet Computer Being Used in Schools

by Susie Francis on June 2, 2013

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Schools are embracing Samsung tablets, Kindles, and other competing tablets.

What originally started out as a novelty item has now become a ubiquitous force to be reckoned with. The Apple iPad, in its multiple models, has become a major player in classroom computing.

Yet just as soon as the iPad revolution started, many followed its lead – resulting in companies designing their own range of tablets to be used in a variety of settings, from workplaces to hospitals and even airports. So what types of these competing tablets are being used in the education?

Samsung
Schools within the west metro district of Minneapolis are taking advantage of handheld devices and practising a “one-to-one” student-tablet teaching model across all age levels – with regions such as Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Minnetonka benefitting from this revolution.

Just this March saw Bloomington’s Oak Grove Elementary School launch its tablet pilot initiative, with each student in one of two 4th-grade classes using a Samsung touchscreen tablet complete with an attachable keyboard. “It’s going to make learning more exciting for the kids and more informative for teachers,” said Oak Grove Principal Raymond Yu.

Parents are pleased with the program. “I’m thrilled that she has the opportunity to work with these tablets,” said one parent of a 4th-grader. “I think it’s a way for the teacher and the students to get themselves prepared for a future that demands digital proficiency.”

The tablets can be beneficial from a financial standpoint, as well. “You can buy two or three … for the same price as one desktop or laptop and be able to have that mobility to move them around the building,” Yu said. “And you’ll be using the devices more frequently.”

[I would note that these devices are in many ways very personalized, and it takes planning and forethought to use them in a shared way. For example, they are great for sharing access to the Internet, but not for sharing propriety device-specific apps like an email client – KW].

Kindles
Tablets from Kindle have been making the grade in the classroom as well.

Clearwater High School in Florida and St Rose of Lima School in Texas are among schools that have been testing Kindles with students. “Clearwater High has been using about 2,000 Kindles for more than two years and recently the test was expanded to more than 122 schools in the same district, according to Principal Keith Mastroides.” Mastroides has observed that devices make students more enthusiastic about reading and studying in general.

The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY has been using Kindle Fire tablets in one of its programs and students have been responding well. “They really appreciate having their textbooks on the Kindles, as well being able to use them to access the college’s Moodle Learning Management System”, according to CIO Kelly Walsh.

Amplify
Another tablet that has just just arrived on the schooling scene comes from Rupert Murdoch’s education group Amplify, hoping to make an impression within the US.

With models costing $299 and $349, the Android wi-fi enabled handheld devices features learning programs for both students and teachers, as well as preloaded software such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

“News Corp’s education unit, along with firms such as Apple and Pearson, is betting on a technology-led educational future and is digitizing traditional textbooks and redesigning them for children who have grown up using multimedia devices”, according to this BBC News article.

Whether or not educators and students choose to embrace this new Amplify tablet remains to be seen. Only time will tell.

Are you using tablets other than the iPad in your classroom? How’s it going? Please comment and share your insights and experience. Thanks!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
The Updated Classroom – Developing Student Writing Skills with Tablet and Smartphone Apps
Pros and Cons of Digital Devices in the Hands of Young Students
Making BYOD Work in Schools – Three School Districts That Have Figured it Out

About 

This post was written by Susie Francis a content writer for HANDD the leading secure file transfer experts. When Susie isn’t brushing up on her computer technology knowledge and writing about it, you will find her reading about it instead.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tablets for schools June 14, 2013 at 6:59 am

This is one of the highly attractive, informatics, well-written and highly crisp blog that has been explained in fabulous manner to help out reader and visitors. All information found here is genuine and realistic.

Graesen June 4, 2013 at 9:36 am

Thanks for addressing my question of why. I am an avid Android enthusiast and follow this OS daily, keeping up with newly released devices and new releases. I personally favor Android over iOS because of how much more that can be done with it, but that doesn’t mean educational institutions need these extra abilities. I tend to push the limits and see how much I can do with the phones and tablets I buy before I root them and modify their software – then I push the limits again. Most of Android’s evolution is a result of the root/modify advances that are done.

Joe June 3, 2013 at 11:48 am

Susie,

You didn’t mention the only Proven Purpose Built for Education tablet solution on the market. The LearnPad won 2013 Best Digital Device of 2013. Please contact me for additional information.

Joe

K. Walsh June 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

Excellent questions Graesen! I do at times let guest writers introduce topics in articles, and this one is somewhat introductory in nature – bringing to the fore the fact that some schools are selecting tablets other than the iPad, but you are completely correct to point out that this quickly leads to the question of “Why?”. I can speak to my own experience – we selected Kindles for our limited program use because of cost versus required functionality. The Kindles gave us what we needed to meet the requirements (textbook reading and web browsing, to access several browser based apps we use plus our LMS) for a fraction of the cost of the iPad. Similarly, the Amplify tablet is being introduced to provide a lower cost solution, but also to provide something geared more specifically towards education (via preinstalled apps). I think a big driver of the Oak Grove effort was also cost – they were able to get tablets and other tools donated to them.

Graesen June 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

I appreciate your postings on this blog and often look for new educational tools to use. However, I’m beginning to find that many articles posted lack much substance. For instance, it’s one thing to note that the iPad isn’t the only tablet being used in education as it opens many people’s minds to the competition. What is failed to be addressed is how these tablets are being used and why they were chosen over the iPad. If cost is a factor, is it the only one? Is it as effective as the iPad if cost is the main reason for choosing ____ tablet? What educational apps are being used? How do these schools handle children who have their own devices at home? What if they bring their own tablets? How do they manage multiple types of devices (kids may have iPad at home, but use Android in class)?

Cindy June 3, 2013 at 6:44 am

Susie,

You didn’t mention the LearnPad (from a company in UK). Do you have any usage info on that?

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