Tablets are everywhere, from how we watch Netflix to how we pay for meals and amuse our kids. The classroom is no exception. Tablets can be a powerful, relatively inexpensive and portable learning tool to take your students into 21 stcentury learning. They can motivate your students while also creating personalized educational experiences. But in a world filled with choices, knowing which tablet to use can be tough. Here are some tips to help you choose a tablet that will meet your students’ needs.
Have a Vision
Before you begin comparing technical specs, costs, or hardware needs, identify your learning goals and how your students will use the tablets in a typical day. One way to do this is to make a list of what you want to accomplish and how you want your students to use the tablets. Then, you can share these ideas with your grade level team and school administrators, establishing a clear vision and purpose for adding tablets to your classroom.
Find Out Your Budget
Tablets can range in price from less than $100 to more than $500. Because there are so many options, it’s important to talk with school administrators to find out what your district can afford. If your district cannot support your goals, don’t be discouraged! There are many other options to gain funding or support for your classroom. Try school technology grant programs such as TeachersCount or crowdfunding sites like DonorsChoose.org.
Research Your Options
Your classroom is unique, and tablets are not a one-size-fits all solution. To find the right tablet, you’ll want to consider specs like size (most full-size tablets are about 10 inches, though some smaller models are in the 8- to 9-inch range), screen resolution, capabilities, and more. You may want to choose education tablets with larger screens and longer battery life, especially for younger students. And of course, depending on the tablet, you’ll want to make sure the apps available are appropriate to your students and your teaching goals.
Here are just a few of the tablet options available:
- The iPad Pro 9.7 is the most popular education tablet but comes at a high price point. If these tablets are in your budget, they offer the most comprehensive selection of education apps. These apps typically perform better due to frequent system updates.
- Google’s Pixel C is a great choice for teachers who use Google Classroom or Chromebooks. While still on the expensive side, teachers can take advantage of Google Drive for sharing and collaboration, in addition to 15 GB of free storage space.
- The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has ideal reading and web surfing capability. Its design is slim and light, making it easy for young students to hold and carry. It is also more affordable than most Google or Apple products.
- The Nexus 9 is an affordable Android tablet. It offers more than 600,000 apps that are compatible with Google for Education.
- Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 has many of the same capabilities as a laptop or PC. It also features a built-in kickstand for keyboard use. This model is a great choice for teachers who prefer their students use a stylus instead of a touchscreen.
- E-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook are an affordable way for students to access electronic versions of textbooks, novels, magazines, newspapers, and more. However, they don’t support productivity or collaboration apps as seen in most other tablets.
No matter what education tablet you choose, your students benefit when you expand their learning experience beyond the classroom walls and into the digital world.