With their interactive touch screens, easy portability, and quick boot-up time, tablets are increasingly becoming schools’ classroom computers of choice. And while many schools have invested in Apple’s revolutionary iPad, which started the whole tablet computing craze, a number of other suitable options have emerged to give school leaders more choices.
Last month, for instance, both Microsoft and Google unveiled new tablet computers. Microsoft is positioning its 10.6-inch tablet, which attaches to a removable rubberized keyboard and runs on its latest operating system, Windows 8, as better than the iPad in terms of productivity. At $199, Google’s new 7-inch device, the Nexus 7, is more of a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire than the $499, 9.7-inch iPad—but it will have a front-facing camera and will run on the latest version of Google’s Android OS.
With so many options at varying price points and with different educational capabilities, choosing the right tablet can be overwhelming. Besides the new Microsoft and Google devices, here are seven other iPad alternatives to consider—three of which were designed specifically for schools.
Full Text: Seven iPad alternatives for schools | eSchool News.
For schools that are about to deploy the iPad as their main mobile learning device, there’s wisdom to be learned from others who’ve gone down that road. At Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, Calif., the first year of a pilot iPad program for sixth-graders has just ended, and some clear lessons have emerged. Here are some tips to help smooth the transition.
Full Text: 14 Smart Tips for Using iPads in Class | MindShift.
Though educators are finding smart ways to integrate technology and learning, the road has been and continues to be challenging on multiple fronts. The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, a collaboration between the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking, and the International Society for Technology in Education, takes the birds-eye view and encapsulates some of the significant challenges that must still be addressed and offers the following assessment.
Behind the challenges listed here is also a pervasive sense that local and organizational constraints are likely the most important factors in any decision to adopt — or not to adopt — a given technology. Even K-12 institutions that are eager to adopt new technologies may be constrained by school policies, the lack of necessary human resources, and the financial wherewithal to realize their ideas. Still others are located within buildings that simply were not designed to provide the radio frequency transparency that wireless technologies require, and thus find themselves shut out of many potential technology options. While acknowledging that local barriers to technology adoptions are many and significant, the advisory board focused its discussions on challenges that are common to the K-12 community as a whole. The highest ranked challenges they identified are listed here, in the order in which the advisory board ranked them.
Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession, especially teaching.
K-12 must address the increased blending of formal and informal learning.
The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices.
Institutional barriers present formidable challenges to moving forward in a constructive way with emerging technologies.
Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervalued when it does take place.
Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of traditional learning metrics.
FACEBOOK and the Victorian government have forged an Australia-first relationship that will today see 2000 secondary students take part in a cyberbullying exercise.
It comes after the Education Minister, Martin Dixon, met with Facebook’s Australian policy manager, Mia Garlick, in April to discuss a joint approach to cyber bullying.
But a Victorian expert has warned that cyber safety education needs to be more than a one-off presentation because some schools still ”don’t have a handle” on the issue.
Full Text: Facebook joins cyber bully fight.
The digital revolution risks bypassing UK education if schools don’t step up to the technological plate. But without more financial support, experts worry they could have little choice but to offer an analogue education in a digital world. Schools need to offer a better digital education to pupils used to technology
Teaching and learning in the 21st century needs to be ‘turbo-charged’ by educational technology rather than using technologies designed for other purposes, according to a new report developed by the Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Programme (TEL) – a five-year research programme funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The report, ‘System Upgrade: Realising the vision for UK Education’ is the work of academics, industry and practitioners from across the UK and warns that to prosper in the 21st century, people need to be confident digital collaborators and communicators, discerning users of the internet, and equipped with computational thinking skills such as understanding how to use and write the computer programs that underpin emails, searches and maps.
Full Text: ‘Schools need to engage the Xbox generation’ – News – Education Executive.
In a mobile phone video filmed at a Houston high school this April, dozens of students gather in a stairwell to watch a fight. They stand by as a girl, armed with a sock that has a combination lock in the toe, viciously beats another girl to the point that she will later have multiple staples inserted into her head at the emergency room.
Tim Porter is developing an app that he believes can stop violence like this on school grounds.
“If they would have had the app, someone would have alerted student administrators,” he says, noting that someone watching the fight already had their phone in hand to take video. “It’s just the way that kids communicate now. They all use apps.”
Porter’s app, Stop Bullies, allows students to anonymously report bullying by submitting messages, photos or videos to school administrators, who are alerted in real time. Each message includes a GPS tag that could, at least theoretically, help adults intervene. Customized versions of the app will go live for the first time in two schools this August.
Full Text: Apps: The Latest Stand Against School Bullies.
Up to 14,000 NSW high school students will receive unique IP addresses as part of the official launch of Internet Protocol version 6 tomorrow.
As part of the address switch-on, each student at the eligible schools will receive a permanent and unique IPv6 address attached to the credentials they use to log on to school networks.
Karp said the unique addresses could be used to track student activity at a network level, preventing instances of cyber bulling or other misuse of school networks.
“No one likes to think about those things but every school has to put in place protections. What we actually find is, once you tell the students ‘once you log onto the network we know who you are’, they’re much more cautious from that point onwards. It achieves the effect even if you may never use it,” Karp said.
A Californian High School will provide iPads to all 1,200 students next fall, one of a handful of schools in Orange County incorporating the popular tablet into the daily curriculum.
Students will use their iPads during classroom lessons, for homework assignments and to study. The devices will access the Internet through the campus wireless network.
Principal Leslie Smith said the goal of the program is to provide all students and teachers the opportunity to take learning beyond the classroom, increase productivity and organization and creativity.
Full Text: Orange Lutheran to launch iPad curriculum | orange, school, students – News – The Orange County Register.
When it comes to using technology in school, the tension between what students and parents want and what schools allow is becoming more apparent — and more divisive.
Students want more control over how they use technology in school, but many classrooms are still making it difficult. That’s according to the most recent Speak Up 2011 report, “Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey,” which reflects the views of more than 416,000 K-12 students, parents, and educators nationwide surveyed on how technology can enhance the learning environment. They survey is produced by Project Tomorrow, an educational non-profit focused on raising student voices in education policy discussions. The theme for this survey focused on individualized learning paths.
Students aren’t just posting personal pictures and stories on Facebook — it’s just as much a part of their social lives as it is a place where they connect with each other for school work, too. According to the survey, 46 percent of students have used Facebook to collaborate on school projects, and one in 10 high school students have tweeted about an academic subject. Meanwhile, in formal classroom settings, the practice of using these online tools as an acceptable means of learning has been slow: half of all middle and high school students say they can’t access social media sites at school. Educational policy makers need to connect the dots between what motivates and encourages students to learn and what’s actually happening in the classroom, the report states.
Full Text: Schools and Students Clash Over Use of Technology | MindShift.
A Queensland primary school principal is threatening to expel students aged under 13 who refuse to delete their Facebook accounts, in a bold bid to stamp out cyber bullying at her school.
The policy has been applauded by cyber safety experts who say schools are grappling to deal with a surge in problems caused when children use social media sites designed for adults.
Full Text: Students face expulsion for using Facebook.