Android Tablets for the Classroom

TabletTechnology is racing on, especially in the classroom. In some schools tablets or laptops are being provided instead of textbooks. Whatever the teaching environment, providing a young person with a tablet at school requires an element of control to be implemented. Without this control, young people will use and abuse the tablet for things other than classroom activities, including searching the Internet, sending emails, chats on social networks, playing games, and any other non-educational activity they can find to access.

Changing settings to access the camera, and installing their own apps is easy. Changing these settings could also make the tablet difficult to use by others who may share the tablet or teachers who may need to access files to grade a pupil’s work.

Android tablets have a full-size colour screen, built-in memory, and many features of a standard computer. The relatively high resolution screen is suitable for use with a projector, and with a large on-board memory ( 8 Gb of memory is a useful standard to adopt for the classroom where work will be saved elsewhere - with 16 GB more suitable for personal tablets) this allows even complicated multimedia presentations to be loaded onto a Tablet without running out of space. Tablets are available with very high HD resolution and these are great for a personal devices especially for gamers but they are very expensive in comparison and not required for the classroom (800x480 resolution is fine for classroom use)

Most Android Tablets include high speed wireless (WiFi) networking, 3G and Bluetooth and include ports, such as standard or mini USB and HDMI ports with audio output and SD card slots taking up to 64 GB SD cards for extra memory. For the classroom WiFi is essential but 3G is not needed and Bluetooth is a luxury and additional cost when only really needed for Bluetooth keyboard connection rather than a conventional USB keyboard that doesn't need batteries. Likewise HDMI is more suited to a teachers tablet.

Android-powered tablets have a huge price advantage over Apple iPads making them more cost-effective for budget limited schools especially if the specification is matched to classroom needs. Android tablets also allow users to download third-party software, which Apple prevents, which stops schools implementing student monitoring software on iPads. Android tablets with a different front end GUI installed can be customised to better meet school and pupil requirements.

A 9" Android single core tablet with WiFi and 8GB memory is about 30% lower cost than an android 10.1" personal tablet without any significant loss in performance due to the minimally smaller screen size and is ideally suited for classroom use but you can also equip three classrooms with these 9" Android tablets for the price of one classroom with iPads .

Dual core Android tablets using the new Jelly Bean operating system can easily be customized to suit classroom needs so making it an ideal tablet and operating system combination for the classroom.

An Android tablet offers most of the advantages of PCs common in many classrooms especially when used with a keyboard, docking station and mouse but they also add new capabilities:

The touchscreen allows users to "draw" using a finger or stylus. It is possible to draw with a mouse but drawing with a stylus is much easier for most people. A Tablet can be used in landscape or portrait modes. Very convenient for material that may have been originated in portrait format like most books. Tablet are ultra-light with a long battery life. They are very portable and especially good for field work away from the classroom. Versions of most popular applications are available for tablets, without the need for lengthy training sessions.

Built-in Digital cameras produce a powerful data collection and annotation tool for subjects like architecture, art or biology and science. The microphone can capture audio data.

The combination of an Android tablet with control apps (software) to prevent pupils from abusing their use provides not only a great opportunity to reduce the cost of supplying printed books but also to provide a very adaptable classroom tool.

9" Classroom Android Tablet


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