02 Apr Are you thinking about Tablets for your School?
Technology based learning is a big part of the future and can increase student participation, engagement and levels of achievement. We should be helping to make sure that those who will use it, design it and disrupt it, know what they are doing and why they’re doing it.
The time to introduce mobile learning is now.
A large number of schools are in the process of making the decision on which device and when?
The team here at Apex Computing HQ have got our hands on the 3 most popular tablets to find out which device ticks all our boxes!
The three tablets we reviewed are:
Cyclone Voyager – Android Jelly Bean
Apple iPad 16GB – iOS
HP ElitePad – Windows 8 Professional
All three devices are physically very similar in weight and measurement. The screen on the iPad with its Retina display is by far the best in terms of quality. The HP ElitePad screen comes a very close second, with the Android Cyclone being noticeable poorer.
In terms of battery life, the Android Cyclone has up to 5 hours battery life compared to the 8.5 hours for the HP ElitePad and up to 10 hours for the iPad.
We like the front and rear facing cameras on all 3 devices. The HP ElitePad is the winner for us as the rear camera has the ability to flash when taking a picture. The iPads front facing camera is 5mp while the HP ElitePad is 3mp, however the HP ElitePad makes up for it with the rear 8mp camera and flash.
Overall the spec of the iPad and HP ElitePad are very similar, with the Android Cyclone running a more basic spec.
Both the iPad and Windows 8 tablet have excellent features for use in the classroom by pupils and teachers. The Android tablet we feel lacks in important areas in that it cannot be managed centrally, it can be locked down centrally as can the other two devices, however pupils can still make changes on the Android tablet, for example, apps can be removed and installed.
When it comes to Apps, the Android market we found hard to navigate and there were no ‘well known’ providers. It’s obvious when it comes to apps that the clear winner is the iPad. It has been around a lot longer than any other tablet device, and most of the apps were already available from the iPod & iPhone. There is also a huge educational section within the app store, but will teachers use this? Unlike the iPad, the Windows tablet allows full versions of Windows software to be loaded onto the device, so any software that is already being used in the classroom can be installed on the Windows 8 tablet. We think this is fantastic, as the full MS Office suite (Word, Excel, and Publisher) can be loaded on. Not only that but you are able to load SIMS and other educational programs, which are currently being used in school.
With all 3 devices there’s the option to pin favourite websites to the home screen which then look like apps and can be accessed straight away.
The first website we tried to access was www.educationcity.com– this was ONLY accessible on the Windows 8 tablet, neither the iPad or Android device will support Adobe Flash Player, which as we know a lot of the interactive websites the pupils use require this to run!
It’s when it comes to the management of the devices that we notice the real difference.
The best device for management has to be the Windows 8 tablet, with the full version of Windows 8 Professional installed, it means the tablet can be connected to the school network. This means it can operate as if it were a normal school PC, allowing staff and pupils to login in the same way they already do around the school. The initial install of standard software would need to be done on the devices. Once connected to the network the security of the device can be centrally managed by the server, making it easy to lock down applications, files and the Internet.
The Android Cyclone tablet very much runs independently. The initial setup of the device is minimal, some security settings can be locked down within the MDM (mobile device management) software, which is limited on the Android Cyclone in comparison to HP ElitePad. The only way to centrally manage the apps on the Android Cyclone is via the MDM. Once an app is purchased on the MDM it is sent wirelessly to each device, but only as a link. Someone then has to manually click the link, on each device, to then download the app.
Management of the iPad is a lot more complex compared to the Android. We attended an iPad management conference where staff from schools currently using iPads attended and the main thing they said about them was how difficult they are to manage. There are ways to manage the iPad, via iTunes or via a mac running the Apple Configurator.
Would you like a copy of the full review of all 3 devices?
Give us a call, or drop us an email and we’ll be happy to post one out to you, it makes quite an interesting coffee break read!
Did you know…
We are now offering workshops either in your school or at our office where we will demonstrate all 3 devices – you can even give them a go yourself!
Give us a call or email us to find out more…
Tel: 0161 233 0099