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Dec
08

A teacher’s tablet review: the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung tablet

At our ULearn conference in October, we had some of the latest mobile devices on display for teachers to try, along with a survey on teachers' views on the increased use of mobile devices in schools. All those that completed the survey went into a draw to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. The lucky winner was Paul Elkerton, and we caught up with him a month later to find out how he was using his new device, both as a personal and a professional tool.

- Glen Davies, CORE Education's IT Manager

In the weeks leading up to ULearn I had been considering finally purchasing an iPad or a tablet running the Android OS. I’ve had an iTouch for two years now, and have enjoyed using it for everything from personal note taking, diary, games, music, email and cooking (recommend Nigella Lawson’s app), to using it in the classroom with educational apps. However, I could see the benefit of a tablet with its bigger screen size, quick web surfing, book reading, and for sharing my photography.

I was pleased to see a number of trade stands at ULearn11 with iPads or tablets up for grabs in exchange for completing simple surveys. So, between browsing what innovations were on offer and enjoying the food, I completed surveys. Thanks to CORE Education, I won a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 at the end of the conference.

Here's how I've found it…

Set up

The first thing I did when I finally got home was to start charging it and setting it up. It was a simple process requiring me to download Samsung's Kies software to my laptop so I could sync my files and calendar. The tablet also connected to my wireless quickly and through the built-in browser I was soon able to access all my accounts such as Flickr, Facebook, Trade Me, YouTube, and even manage my photography webpage.

Personal use of the tablet

In terms of personal use, the Tablet has taken precedence over my iTouch.

Personal management

The Memo app is a great way to keep organised, and the calendar allows me to keep track of all important events, especially meetings at work.

Surfing the web and communication

Instant and easy web surfing without waiting for my laptop to boot has been enjoyable. Skype is great with the front facing webcam.

I have transferred my portfolio of photography to the tablet which has been a great tool for sharing with potential clients.

App shopping

The Android app market is easy to use, and those used to the iTunes store will quickly become familiar with it, although, I found it takes longer to find the appropriate app.

Reading

Recently, I downloaded the Amazon Kindle app, and was surprised by how easy and cheap it is to purchase books. And the reading experience is just as enjoyable as an actual book. —likewise, reading the paper through the NZ Herald app.

Games

In terms of games, I have become addicted to Angry Birds. And recently, my cat even started using my tablet to play CrazyCat, a simple app for cats. A mouse wanders around on the screen, and he gets points every time he swats at it.

Using the tablet and apps in the classroom

Around the classroom and at school the tablet is rarely sitting idle. I have it with me to quickly type notes and to add events and meetings to the calendar.

It is most popular during maths time, when children use it to play a range of Maths apps (Math Genius, Math Training, Math Magic, Math Ninja, Math Workout, Math Maniac) during their game rotation. During reading we have used the camera to record our plays so we could critique the expression in our voices and actions upon playback. The quality of the videos is impressive.

As the Android OS supports Flash Player, educational websites that don’t work on Apple devices work on the Samsung Tablet. Thanks to this we have been able to access our usual educational sites (BBC Bitesize and Snappy Words are great). We have used the StopWatch & Timer app for athletics, and recording the time of our model land yachts for maths so we can then work out their speed on the Calculator app.

Conclusions

Overall the tablet is an engaging educational tool.

I see potential in the Tablet for bringing devices into the classroom 1:1. However, I feel that a lack of a publishing programme such as Word, which our current Microsoft-based schools run, will for now hold the tablet back from widespread adoption. Our school will be looking for replacements of our net book pods next year, and the lack of this publishing option would see us steer away from tablets (unless we adopt Google Docs). Likewise, I can't see the tablet replacing my teacher laptop yet, not until it can connect to and run our interactive whiteboards, or allow us to plan through a publishing programme.

Paul ElkermanPaul Elkerton is a Year 5/6 teacher, syndicate leader, and Director of Technology (ICT) at Stratford Primary. He is also an amateur photographer (www.pjelkerton.com).

 

8 comments

  1. Michael/teachernz says:

    My Samsung Galaxy S phone came with Thinkfree Office. This enables viewing, editing and creation of Word, Excel and Powerpoint files and emailing or drop boxing any of them (along with other sharing options). I’m surprised it’s not available for your Samsung tablet.

  2. Paul Elkerton says:

    Thanks Michael, will have to give that a go. Could change my decision :-)

  3. Barb says:

    I have  a school who has purchased Asus tablets which seem fine to use. However, I am having trouble getting some recommended apps for maths and literacy. Do you have any recommendations? 

  4. Johanna Salmia says:

    Hi, I'm from HAMK University of Applied Sciences and working in a project called Mobiilisti (MobiLearn, http://www.mobiilisti.com). In this project we develop new ways for using mobile devices in education. Weare using Samsung Galaxy tabs in piloting. In this new Samsung Galaxy 10.1 there is Polaris Office which works well with MS Office documents. You're even able to edit them.

  5. Chris says:

    I find the most frustrating thing about tablets in the classroom is the incompatability with a number of web tools – Google Docs simply does not work as well. It's a real limiting factor on a tablet when you cannot properly use the collaboration tools that work perfectly on netbooks and laptops.  

  6. Samsung GALAXY Tab | ACTIVboardNZ Education says:

    [...] Read Review [...]

  7. Eric says:

    Is there a way of wirelessly getting my samsung to my overhead projector 

  8. Janet Henderson says:

    Last year, my NE to year 3 class were lucky enough to purchase 15 Samsung Galaxy S2 devices. During the holidays Ive been setting them up hand down loading apps for my reading and maths rotation. Your comments have been very helpful. Thanks

    Janet

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