Curriculum & Instruction - eSMART Hardware
There are numerous devices that are available for use in 1 to 1 computing. Traditionally these devices have been laptops (see article from rationale). However, with the recent advent of tablet computers, the options have changed. Inherrent issues with laptops (ie, battery life, expense, etc.) kept WCSD from moving forward with a 1 to 1 project.
When netbooks came on the scene, with their increased battery life and lower costs, the possibilities improved. However, in discussions with districts that had moved in this direction, the typical outcome was still not satisfactory.
Tablets and Chromebooks, however, presented new and different possibilities. Their portability, superior battery live and instant on capabilities make them more ideal and suited for the educational environment. In addition, these devices are less likely to crash, they utilize apps instead of software (which are typically much cheaper and reliable), and they typically require much less technical support. Tablets belong to what some people call the agile space - between handheld and protable. Many would argue that this type of device is the best fro teaching and learning (see article).
Each devices has positive and negative aspects. Our goal is to look at each one, test it in classrooms, and determine which one best suits our needs. Below is some information on each to help you better understand some of the aspects the committee is looking at.
Apple iOS (iPad)
Everyone is familiar with the iPhone and the iPad. Apple has major ties to education and this would, at first glance, seem to be the obvious choice for student devices (click here for a blog on using iPads in schools). Currently no one else can match the number of apps available for iOS devices and, hard as we try not to say it, they just work. To read more and see a video of how the eTextbooks work, CLICK HERE.
iBooks 2 was launched January 19, 2012 and with that came an increase in ebook interactivity. In addition, eTextbooks were introduce on the iOS platform that allow for increased student interaction with the text. There are limitations (ie, books must be sold on iTunes) but the possibilities are exciting.
KAIST has a new smart ebook system that improves the e-reading experience. See the video below or go to the full article HERE.
Google Chromebooks may be the least familiar device we are testing (click here for more information). These are essentially netbooks, but they run on the Chrome Browswer operating system - not iOS, not android, and not Windows. One of their advantages is that they have keyboards that make them somewhat easier to use. They have quick boot times, just like the other devices and are fairly simple to use.
A good over-all article about Chromebooks and their introduction to schools can be found by CLICKING HERE.
Android Device (Kuno)
There are numerous android devices available on the market today. One of the issues with android is that there are so may flavors that it's difficult to be consistent. In addition, we wanted a device that not only functioned but also catered towards education. The Kuno is a device developed by Curriculum Loft that allows for device management, content delivery, and general app usage.