So Google has now personally joined the other big PostPC device makers (Amazon, Microsoft and of course Apple) in creating a dedicated tablet device designed to serve those consumers who choose their particular operating and media eco-systems. But what will it mean for education?
I’ve already seen ICT Works comment on FaceBook that its price will be great for developing nations. As it seems to strike a better balance between being a media consumption platform and a productive #PostPC device than the Kindle Fire and Nook devices do for the same price, this may turn out to be true for education worldwide. By all reports it has better components and build quality than those devices also (important when used by kids) – and is actually available outside to more than just one country, so thats an obvious advantage right there!
It might also inspire developers to actually make some android tablet apps as currently schools really have no choice by the $399 iPad2 because why buy a device at all if there is very little you can do with it (I’m saying there is much more that teachers need than just having the basic email/notes etc apps available). It does lack a 3G internet option though (like the Microsoft Surface), an 8 or even 16gb is a little small nowadays – so where is the SD card slot that has been the subject of so much Android marketing claims up until now?
I am seriously thinking of getting one as my first Android device to learn the platform a little better for the purposes of ‘translating’ such a consumer device into the education arena – how about you educators?
What will be in iOS6 for educators?
Every year at this time, Apple has used the opening of its World Wide Developers Conference to preview what the next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system will bring. Amongst the purported 200 new features we will see when iOS version 6 is released in our Spring (Fall in the USA), I wanted to detail three of those announced overnight that in my opinion will be most useful for educators and schools. While there is nothing quite on the level of AirPlay mirroring which we got last year, these are worth knowing about and planning for. I’ll also touch on something that might be a concern.
Accessibility – Guided Access mode
- Mentioned only briefly as part of the accessibility options in iOS6, to me this may turn out to be the most useful new feature of iOS6 for educators as it allows a teacher to disable the home button effectively turning on a ‘single, one-app at at time’ mode.
- I can see it being especially good for schools with shared sets of iPads and iPod touches and who need students to not accidentally or otherwise use certain apps. May also help those students who ‘multi-task’ a bit too much.
- This option in settings will allow users to halt all incoming notifications and alerts with one toggle – or to customise what is allowed and even when.
- I see this as being a great new tool for busy educators and for students doing assignments etc – we’ll now be able to have designated ‘quiet’ time to concentrate on the task at hand without being distracted.
Siri for iPad 3
- This will bring exactly what it says – rather than just the voice dictation that it debuted with, iOS6 will enable Siri for the new (2012) iPad. Strangely, rather than taking up the full screen to show you maps or information, a small (iPhone-sized) Siri window will pop up. Siri will also be updated to accept more commands such as opening apps.
- For educators of students who are sight-impaired, having them be able to interact with their iPad simply by speaking will be a boon.
- If you haven’t already, you might like to consider having students use headphones to keep all the voice chatter down.
The one concern I did want to note is one that could be said to come up anytime that we discuss how consumer devices like the iPhone and iPad can be ‘translated’ for use in Education. So in many schools for example, Siri or voice dictation (as opposed to the Voice-Over accessibility feature) won’t work through the standard network settings, and neither may notifications and alerts.
Ok, any I have missed? For the most comprehensive list go to iLounge: