Which Device? Just One Educators Opinion
In our school board (www.peelschools.org) there has been a shift away from traditional computing technologies (The Desktop Computer) towards mobile technologies (smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks, etc.) that better allow for student collaboration and mobility. At the TLDW (Teaching and Learning in a Digital World) conference held this past August, the popular devices in the hands of the educators during the two-day conference were iOS devices. This is quite indicative of the movement schools are making in terms of their technology plans.
The questions for those responsible for making purchases are simple yet overwhelming, “Which Type of Device?” and “What Device?”. The decision about the type of device is often the easiest to make, and typically based on power or portability though there are many other factors to consider when making this decision. The second decision about which device is a far more challenging task to chew on. There are literally hundreds of choices with your iOS/OSX, Android, and Windows devices being the most popular in the marketplace. Under the umbrella of each of those operating systems, iOS/OSX offers the fewest options, while Windows and Android-based devices are plentiful. Google has also entered this battle for the education market with the Chromebook.
So much to consider (Type, Device, Cost, Uses), but it’s time to make the decision, devices need to get into the hands of the educators and their students, otherwise one will fall behind the other. The general consensus has been to purchase iOS devices; because they hold a large portion of the mobile technology marketplace, students and staff are familiar with them.
Is there a “best” choice, of course there is. What is it? I would have to say that the “best” choice would be dependant on a school’s technology plan that would outline the vision for technology in the learning environment. With this being considered those responsible for making purchases can wade into the deep end “the market” to make their decision. There are PROS and CONS with each option and while I have recently become a proponent for the iOS/OS X devices, I am also a user of Android, Windows and even Blackberry devices and the decisions we have made in regards to the devices we have purchased in my school have focused on “Improving Outcomes” with an outlook on keeping our technology plan sustainable.