Ipads or Android tablets? What’s your school using and does this affect your library’s technology use?
New Zealand schools have implemented a range of technology options, but if your school is still looking, you might like to consider some of these research articles and papers.
If you’re an Android tablet school, it's worth contemplating some of the challenges outlined in the US’s Center for Digital Education article; ‘Rethinking Tablets in K-12 Education: Solving common management challenges’, (July 2013 - registration required). These include ensuring that the tablet's Operating System (OS) can be integrated into the school’s existing device management system and that the cost of any desired applications for it or implementing robust user functionality is not too expensive. The other point they make is that ‘a well-defined, strategic approach to tablet training and management is absolutely critical’, since the end-users are students, teachers and administrators, not the IT staff who set up the systems. If these challenges can be met and the right tablet solution found, the article concludes that ‘the possibilities for improved K-12 education are endless’.
Have a look also at CDE’s earlier article How to Choose the RIght Tablet for your School, which starts with ‘Consider your learning goals’ – a salutary reminder of what any technology is really there for in your school. This article looks also at the pros and cons of iPads. Tim Williams, a software management consultant, considers that while Apple has ‘a stronger ecosystem, more app options and… a more mature operating system’ it is designed for consumers, not education… Make sure, he says, that you match your school’s needs to your devices.
Both of these articles come with an assumption that the school is the purchaser of tablet or iPad. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), more common in New Zealand schools, adds another dimension, with the challenges listed above of even greater significance as a range of different devices multiply all the factors to consider.
There are some great discussions online such as the Enabling e-learning page on TKI, which gives information and advice relevant to New Zealand schools and the Enabling e-Learning portal on the VLN, as there are many groups within this. Think about how you keep the library to the forefront – in any of these discussions.
Image by Josie Holford