At the end of last year I was seriously thinking of plunging into the world of iPads for students as replacements for desktops or laptops. Two computers in a classroom doesn't make technology integration a reality. Getting closer to 1:1 motivates a teacher to change the instructional delivery. I have been thinking 8 computers, 8 laptops, and 8 tablets might be a good interim design (the other 8 are with a real live teacher or even books), coupled with a digital projector, digital camera, and interactive whiteboard.
As simply an arithmetic decision, the iPad2 met the bill for our K-6 students, with an eye out for the apps that encouraged products, projects, and collaboration. More importantly, key teachers were willing to undergo the necessary training to maximize the investment. I hate the idea of "air dropping" technology on unwilling and untrained teachers.
The price tag was the tipping point, of course($500+ with tax and AppleCare). With the rumor of an iPad mini, I hesitated once more. Maximizing money in today's environment is the name of the game. I can get 2, 3 or 4 tablets for the price of one computer.
Now, we have the Kindle Fire HD($199), Nexus 7($199), Unobook($297 with case), Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 ($249), Android tablets galore (tech gurus say $49 price point is the future), and hopefully the iPad Mini ($249?). Heck, even a Chromebook or netbook gets price consideration depending on the purpose, right?
Anyone using any of these fabulous devices? What's the real deal in real life? We have the iPad implementation experiment going on in our district, so I will relay "lessons learned" from our experience. The initial headache is managing app purchases, printing, charging, syncing, securing, and standardizing the tablets. Don't even get me started on allowing students to BYOD.
Android vs. iOS: is this betamax vs vhs? Or does it matter? The majority of "creation" apps run both platforms with ability to access files from any device, including a computer. For simple practice, does it matter what they use?
So, paralyzed once more, but ready to plunge into the waters of tech innovation.
Great to hear from you. You are not alone in this paralysis. I seems to be one thing as to what works for us in our personal life, it is another for an enterprise solution. If you want your students to do more than read, or in others words be able to create, that will narrow down your choices some.
I always look at the device as a tool for creating or sharing what I know. I would look at devices that allow me to do this easiest. When thinking devices with a smaller screen than the iPad remember required screen size for the devices for the online assessments.
We will be piloting the CST online assessments for Science. I wonder if iPads are suitable enough.
We have iPads in grades 5, 6, and 9 this academic year. We bought 30 Chromebooks for the library and classrooms for grades 1-4. We still have four labs with desktop computers too. All in all I think it is more important to look at the learning outcome and find the right tool. I'm not sure the iPad is the end all and be all of tools, but it does allow for a lot of creating, collaborating, and synthesizing of information. We have e-textbooks where available too.
Frankly, I don't think that one tool can meet all of the needs of a student. I also think there is value in knowing various types of computing devices. I like the idea of BYOD/BYOT, but I worry about digital equity among students and whether or not schools can then afford to expose students to different technologies.