A year ago I was in the middle of applying a 1-to-1 iPad project in a large Academy on the South shore. This followed over a year’s painstaking research study, site-visits, student appointment and trialling of tools to ensure we made the best choice for our pupils; we needed to pick the tablet and also ecological community that would cause the greatest educational chances and which would certainly likewise continue to be economically and operationally sustainable …
It was a hard option and we came close to selecting Windows 8 on Acer Iconia W510 tablets, yet in the end as well as for all the right reasons, the decision was made to make use of iPads. Those reasons consisted of (among other points) mobility, pupil choice, cost, gadget top quality & performance, app environment and also assimilation with various other systems.
That was a year earlier, and also a lot has actually transformed. 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 various other variables, which must make schools take a very long and difficult consider this alternative.
Logos TM of Android and Apple
Issues concerning eSafety & disruption to discovering
We had dismissed Android out of the starting box, as a result of problems regarding eSafety. We knew that this would certainly be a vital battleground with nay-sayers (‘ Take a look at the dangers you’re revealing youngsters to!’) as well as consequently had to be positive that the community was risk-free. At the time, Google’s application store was not gate-kept with anything like the strictness that Apple’s was as well as because of this, admitted to material and apps that were destructive, unsafe and also just downright unacceptable for our students.
Google Bet Education goes a long way to settling this concern. It’s a curated set of sources as well as applications that have been chosen by teachers and assured to be proper. It additionally has a mass buying system which, whilst not using Apple’s considerable 50% off numerous applications.
One of the frustrations with iPads that colleges have to work around is that of unacceptable use during lessons. MDM (Mobile Phone Management) firms assure the Earth (e.g. the capacity to turn off the Facebook app between 9am and 3pm) but in reality are restricted by what iOS will certainly let them do. I’ve yet to see showed the capability to manage misuse of non-core apps on an iPad.
The open nature of the Android OS is different. For example, Airwatch (a leading MDM item) utilizes the 150+ APIs offered on Samsung tablets running Android to offer institutions the capacity to secure down features in a lot more granular way than is feasible with iPads. I must caution this paragraph with the fact that clearly it’s much better to have a learning culture where students are accountable for their behavior, which there’s a fine line in between reliable management of devices for guarding and also the kind of Orwellian thought-policing which will turn youngsters off mobile learning … but that’s for specific schools to judge.
Financial sustainability & device quality
These plans are not affordable. Simply the facilities alone (covering taken care of cordless, streaming options for classroom screens, 200mbps broadband lines, protected storage space– the list takes place) can cost more than ₤ 100k if starting from a low base. These are usually prices which colleges have to bear alone, as well as most of tasks instead pass on a few of the expense of the tools, cases, apps and insurance coverage to parents, usually for a monthly payment. I have actually seen contributions evaluated anywhere between ₤ 5 and also ₤ 20, depending upon device, size of the lease and use of Student Premium to make things even more budget-friendly for families in hardship.
For this reason, tool expense is a really sensitive issue and one which can make or damage the success of a system– an use up of less than 70% by parents is arguably educationally unsustainable. RRP for the base model of iPad Air is ₤ 399 (yet any kind of college which can recover its BARREL and which can play off a number of instructional resellers must be able to get this cost to around ₤ 310). Currently do not fret, I’m not ready to recommend that this is a waste of cash– that price reflects a costs item in every sense– or that you can do the same task with a ₤ 50 tablet computer from Lidl, however there are a variety of Android tablets emerging which can substantially reduce the expense of 1-to-1 whilst supplying a premium experience.
One such instance is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3, a premium consumer quality product. It’s light at half a kilo, has a decent-ish electronic camera, expandable memory, a USB link, a 3-year warranty and appears to me to have most things you ‘d desire in for an institution tablet release, consisting of the capacity to add extra storage. And its RRP is ₤ 270, which most likely theorizes to about ₤ 210 ex-VAT and also post-haggle, two-thirds the expense of the Apple equivalent. According to my leasing expense version (which consider situation, insurance coverage and also an app spending plan), that makes a ₤ 3 per-pupil pre-month distinction. And that’s a difference that might make all the distinction, depending on the context your school serves
Combination with various other class systems
AppleTV (and similar streaming software application equivalents) has actually been just one of one of the most compelling debates in favour of institutions using iPads. The capability to just as well as dependably push your (or a student’s) tablet computer’s screen to the class’s projector or TV has actually been just innovative in iPad class I have actually hung out in, changing the rearing extremely plainly from didactic to affiliative, from the front of the room to, well, almost everywhere.
Android (as well as Windows, I should point out) has lately gotten a similar device in the form of Miracast, a wireless requirement that duplicates the capability of Apple’s AirPlay and also which will certainly become a critical slab in any type of Android college’s approach. This is a fast-moving area of advancement with brand-new (and cheap) streaming boxes emerging nearly weekly.
Where AppleTV has actually always been problematic though is in the fact that it’s a consumer item, made for the living room. Classroom-friendly attributes have actually gradually been included (e.g. using on-screen connection codes instead of long-term passwords) yet it still has the feel of having some range to take a trip before it is totally mature.
One item that takes on, and arguably outshines, the capability of AppleTV is ‘Samsung Smart School’, the Oriental maker’s streaming as well as content/ analysis option. This system not just lets the educator stream their or a student’s tablet screen to the classroom screen, it likewise allows web content, apps and analyses to be pushed out to the course on the fly. Pupils’ responses are additionally tape-recorded by the software application for the teacher’s evaluation. Samsung explain it as an LMS yet I think that this will certainly be the least used little bit of the item. It stays to be seen just how much stress this all places on a typical classroom’s wireless, yet the presentation I observed at BETT was perfect.
Google Application for Education and learning (a totally free rival to Office 365 in numerous methods) is an additional superb toolkit that merits discussion. Sync it to your Active Directory site and also place your students’ information into their totally free (and huge– 30Gb!) GDrive cloud storage accounts and straight away all of the problems of relocating files in between a tablet/ institution network just fall away. The last items needed for the Android community are iTunes U and iBooks/ iBooks Writer matchings.
So, it’s Android all the way then?
Please don’t misinterpret this article as a Damascene moment; I’m writing this on an iPad. Rather, it’s planned to highlight the evolution of the tablet landscape in schools and prompt those with 1-to-1 passions to think about totally whether an Android remedy could work for them. Definitely the reasons not to make use of Android which appeared so prominent to me a year back have actually receded substantially as well as, if a school’s management and also pupil body lag the option, I believe an Android 1-to-1 would be as impactful as an iPad one– which is something I would certainly not believed possible in the past.