One of the things with technology is it is often really expensive.  Schools fundraise and apply to trusts (etc) for a lot of money to provide the tech needed to make our chidlrens classrooms truely digital.  One of the key things with this is 'sufficiency' – do you have enough, and of the right stuff to make your programme work.

There are endless arguments made about "when I have a [insert name of shiny thing here] my programme will be a good one".  Thats a crock!  I have seen people doing wonderful things with quite old and slow technology, but good pedagogy.  It is knowing what to do and how to do it well that counts.  Jane had kids placing in national web design competitions and doing wonderful blogging when we worked together at Pine Hill way back when.  That was using the old coloured eMacs that were purchased 3-4years old from the University.  We had a lot of them though …. thats one of the keys.  A good proportion of the work the kids did was browser-based or in just a couple of bits of software.  The computers we had were sufficient for the learning needs and we had sufficient numbers of them that the kids had access when they needed them.  They were like a pencil in the classroom – simply a tool.

So … scale up the logic to today and based on a  discussion with a principal in Ashburton a few weeks ago …. it got me thinking.  Do we need to have lots of iPads or Macbooks, or other expensive tech gear for kids when many of the tools we will be using are browser-based?  Could a class have a good number of cheap-as-chips tablets with browsers for the donkey work online and consequently have fewer laptops or grunty machines for the power work video editing and the like?  This would give much better bang-for-buck for the school and get more devices in front of the kids. 

One of the cool things about being with CORE is access to some of these sorts of resources.  SO … for the past week or so I have been playing with a Samsung Tablet and a cheap Cruz tablet (both Android) to see how they go.

Hmmmm …. an iPad they are not.  I must admit I have pretty much given up on the Cruz already as it took 20min just to connect to the wireless at home and then the browser crashed so often it was unusable.  Factory resetting and starting again didn't help.  The store refuses to work so we were stuck with the default stuff off-line.  Not exactly an ideal educational tool.  The Samsung is a better bet but it is still laggy and for someone who has spent the last few years in an Mac environment I don't think in the way it is organised.  That really is ME not the device though so I need to have a further explore!  The screen is nice enough and the resolution is certainly sufficient for browsing the web etc.  The store works if you follow the trail in the right direction.  The things like LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox and the Google app work fine. 

Is is enough for a classroom?  Pricing is not that dissimilar from an iPad2, especially a referbished one from the Apple Store.  I know which I would rather use.  I know which I think kids would rather use too.

Maybe it reflects the survey results here:

BUT – I would be really interested to be proven wrong!!  Is anyone successfully using Android tablets in their schools?  Which ones?  Doing what? Please let me know in the comments ….

4 Responses to “If you just need the browser …”
  1. I know a lot of schools in the Usa and Uk which are using ipads in their classrooms. In fact I use them sometimes and I am surprised at how well students perform when using them. To be precise I don't know if it is due to the ipad or the app that I use with them in my classes. You know how tied these two factors are. The app is called Nearpod. You can make presentations with interactive activities and then evaluate responses live. I find it very useful. You should see why!  
    Hope this has helped!

  2. Maybe if all you were going to do is surf the web then an 'other' tablet would be enough. Part of the thing though is an iPad has so man apps that can greatly enhance the machines cpability.
    Barbara Reid @barbs1 of Hamilton has a school that has bought tablets and she is trying to build a Google site to support their use It has not been easy.

  3. Yes. I have seen limited use of Android tablets and their effective use in schools. I have been looking for a range of apps similar to those on an iPad and haven't been able to find any that would be comparable. While there are apps to practise literacy and numeracy, I am struggling to find apps for creating such as Show Me, Explain Everything and Sonic Pics. If you find something, let me know. I know Amesbury School in Wellington are using Androids, so may pay to contact them. Try TaraTJ to see what they are doing. 

  4. […] posted a while ago about how the Android tablets certainly weren't iPads …. it is beginning to look as if […]

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