Mobile devices in the classroom

Change is inevitable

In April of 2011 I wrote a blog post regarding the future devices of the classroom.

Some time has passed and it is very clear that these devices, when used properly can help to make the learning environment more authentic.  It is becoming more apparent that these are the devices of choice for many schools.  The school I am currently employed at is 2:1 iPads beginning in preschool (aged 4) to grade 3.  We are also 1:1 in grade 4.

Back in 2011 there were several companies trying to enter the education market such as the school tablet called the Kineo.  The Brainchild Kineo was designed specifically for use in schools, it was supposed to have controls built in that would prevent students from downloading and running programs not meant to be used for instruction and was run about $300.  If you visit the Brainchild website now there seems to be no mention of the Kineo anywhere.  They now offer iPad software.

This might have to do with the fact that many people did and still do think that iPads were really the only option available for school who wanted tablets in the classroom.  This might change in the near future as Google is now making a push towards Android tablets in the educational environment.  Recently, Google Play for Education was released, . This is a clear push from Google to enter the education market.  It is worth a look too, in my opinion!  Considering price alone can make this move more feasible than going iPad, in schools that already have limited budgets. Starting at $229 it is hard to argue this point.   On the management side, it appears to be a much easier process as well.  In fact this is what most IT departments gripe about when they talk about iPads.  It is a pain to manage these things.  In a document about this program it states,

“Introducing tablets with Google Play for Education, the content destination
designed just for schools using Google’s classroom-ready 1:1 tablets. Tablets
with Google Play for Education give teachers access to approved tools and
content that help them meet the individual needs of today’s students.
Administrators experience easy deployment and management: set up a
classroom of tablets and content in just minutes.”

I am not saying the iPad is not a great tool for schools, on the contrary I think the opposite.  I have had experience with these devices in the learning environment and have seen how they motivate, inspire and empower students to do things they couldn’t before. I know that the iPad is a fantastic tool for learning.   I am a big believer in competition between technologies.  What I mean, is that when the competitor does something and it is noticed as a threat, then the other tech improves.  Competition basically spurs innovation and is in the long run better for consumers.  It is through this competition that the product will get better for all consumers.  This will ultimately have a positive effect on the types of apps created to make the functionality of the devices better.  This is a good thing for schools because as the tablets get better the possibilities for improving the educational environment also increase.

What about apps?

For now, the iPad offers a considerable amount of applications which are fantastic for use in schools and sadly, not available for Android.  Of course this might change in the future. At this moment in time the iPad offers students a better array of applications for creation.  Apps such as iMovie lack any real competition on the Android side of things.  Also apps such as PuppetPals, Sonic Pics and a slew of other digital story applications are also available for iPads and no equivalent for Android.

There are however several applications that are available on both platforms such a Explain Everything, iAnnotate, Animoby.  All fantastic apps available for both platforms.

No matter what platform your school has chosen, it is clear that mobile devices are the future device.  Checkout the websites below.

Great websites

Thanks for reading

Shannon Doak



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