Is Android Finally Providing a Convincing Alternative to The iPad for School 1-to-1 Projects?

A year ago I was in the middle of carrying out a 1-to-1 iPad task in a large Academy on the South coastline. This adhered to over a year’s painstaking study, site-visits, student examination and also trialling of tools to ensure we made the best choice for our trainees; we required to select the tablet computer as well as ecological community that would cause the greatest academic possibilities as well as which would certainly additionally remain monetarily and also operationally sustainable …

It was a hard selection and also we came close to opting for Windows 8 on Acer Iconia W510 tablets, yet in the long run as well as for all the best factors, the choice was made to make use of iPads. Those factors consisted of (among other points) portability, trainee preference, rate, device top quality & capability, app ecological community and also combination with various other systems.

That was a year earlier, as well as much has actually changed. Things which struck me most coming far from BETT this year was the growing maturation of the Android offering, because of a convergence of items and also various other elements, which should make colleges take a very long and difficult look at this option.

Logos TM of Android as well as Apple

Problems concerning eSafety & disturbance to understanding
We had actually rejected Android out of the beginning box, due to concerns about eSafety. We understood that this would certainly be a key battleground with nay-sayers (‘ Check out the dangers you’re exposing children to!’) as well as therefore had to be certain that the community was secure. At the time, Google’s app store was not gate-kept with anything like the strictness that Apple’s was as well as due to this, gave access to content and also applications that were destructive, unsafe and just downright inappropriate for our trainees.

Google Bet Education and learning goes a lengthy method to resolving this concern. It’s a curated collection of resources and also applications that have actually been chosen by instructors and also ensured to be suitable. It additionally has a mass buying system which, whilst not supplying Apple’s considerable 50% off several apps.

One of the irritations with iPads that institutions need to work around is that of improper use throughout lessons. MDM (Smart Phone Monitoring) business guarantee the Earth (e.g. the capability to shut down the Facebook application between 9am as well as 3pm) yet in reality are limited by what iphone will certainly allow them do. I have actually yet to see demonstrated the ability to regulate abuse of non-core apps on an iPad.

The open nature of the Android OS is various. As an example, Airwatch (a leading MDM item) utilizes the 150+ APIs provided on Samsung tablets running Android to offer schools the capability to lock down functions in a much more granular means than is feasible with iPads. I should caution this paragraph with the reality that clearly it’s far better to have a learning society where trainees are accountable for their practices, and that there’s a great line in between effective management of tools for securing and also the kind of Orwellian thought-policing which will turn children off mobile learning … but that’s for private institutions to judge.

Financial sustainability & device high quality
These plans are not inexpensive. Just the framework alone (covering handled wireless, streaming options for class displays, 200mbps broadband lines, safe storage space– the checklist goes on) can set you back well over ₤ 100k if starting from a reduced base. These are generally expenses which institutions have to bear alone, as well as the majority of jobs rather pass on several of the price of the tools, cases, applications and insurance to parents, usually for a month-to-month contribution. I have actually seen contributions set at anywhere in between ₤ 5 and also ₤ 20, depending on device, length of the lease as well as use Pupil Costs to make things more affordable for family members in difficulty.

Therefore, gadget cost is an extremely sensitive issue as well as one which can make or break the success of a scheme– an use up of lower than 70% by parents is probably educationally unsustainable. RRP for the base version of iPad Air is ₤ 399 (however any school which can reclaim its BARREL as well as which can play off a couple of academic resellers need to have the ability to obtain this price to around ₤ 310). Currently don’t worry, I’m not ready to recommend that this is a waste of money– that rate mirrors a premium product in every feeling– or that you might do the very same job with a ₤ 50 tablet from Lidl, yet there are a variety of Android tablet computers emerging which can dramatically cut the cost of 1-to-1 whilst supplying a costs experience.

One such example is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3, a high-end consumer high quality item. It’s light at half a kilo, has a decent-ish camera, expanding memory, a USB link, a 3-year guarantee and also seems to me to have most things you would certainly desire in for a school tablet deployment, including the ability to include extra storage. As well as its RRP is ₤ 270, which most likely theorizes to about ₤ 210 ex-VAT as well as post-haggle, two-thirds the expense of the Apple equivalent. According to my leasing expense version (which consider situation, insurance and also an application budget plan), that makes a ₤ 3 per-pupil pre-month distinction. Which’s a distinction that could make all the difference, depending upon the context your institution serves

Assimilation with various other classroom systems
AppleTV (as well as similar streaming software program matchings) has actually been among one of the most engaging debates in favour of schools making use of iPads. The ability to simply and reliably press your (or a student’s) tablet computer’s display to the class’s projector or TELEVISION has been simply revolutionary in iPad classrooms I have hung out in, transforming the rearing extremely plainly from didactic to affiliative, from the front of the room to, well, everywhere.

Android (and also Windows, I ought to point out) has actually recently acquired a comparable device in the form of Miracast, a cordless criterion that duplicates the functionality of Apple’s AirPlay and also which will certainly come to be a vital slab in any Android institution’s strategy. This is a fast-moving area of growth with brand-new (as well as cheap) streaming boxes emerging nearly regular.

Where AppleTV has constantly been troublesome however remains in the truth that it’s a customer product, developed for the living-room. Classroom-friendly attributes have slowly been added (e.g. the use of on-screen link codes rather than long-term passwords) yet it still has the feeling of having some distance to take a trip prior to it is completely mature.

One product that takes on, as well as perhaps outdoes, the performance of AppleTV is ‘Samsung Smart College’, the Oriental maker’s streaming as well as material/ evaluation solution. This system not only allows the teacher stream their or a student’s tablet display to the class display screen, it additionally enables web content, applications and assessments to be pressed out to the course on the fly. Pupils’ responses are also videotaped by the software application for the teacher’s review. Samsung describe it as an LMS but I think that this will be the least made use of little the product. It stays to be seen how much stress and anxiety this all puts on a conventional class’s cordless, however the presentation I observed at BETT was perfect.

Google Apps for Education (a free opponent to Office 365 in many ways) is another outstanding toolkit that advantages conversation. Sync it to your Active Directory and place your pupils’ data into their free (and also big– 30Gb!) GDrive cloud storage space accounts and quickly all of the issues of relocating files in between a tablet/ college network just drop away. The final pieces needed for the Android ecosystem are iTunes U and also iBooks/ iBooks Writer matchings.

So, it’s Android right then?
Please do not misinterpret this article as a Damascene moment; I’m creating this on an iPad. Rather, it’s intended to highlight the advancement of the tablet computer landscape in institutions as well as motivate those with 1-to-1 ambitions to take into consideration completely whether an Android solution might benefit them. Certainly the factors not to use Android which seemed so famous to me a year ago have actually declined considerably and, if an institution’s leadership and also student body lag the option, I believe an Android 1-to-1 would certainly be as impactful as an iPad one– which is something I ‘d not thought feasible in the past.

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