New devices from Samsung, Panasonic, CDI, and HP were among those on display at the nation’s largest ed-tech trade show
School leaders now have more choices than ever when rolling out mobile devices for learning, and several of the latest devices for schools were on display at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference  earlier this month.
Apple’s iPad already has a significant presence in schools, and Google Chromebooks are on the rise  as well. At ISTE 2014, many companies demonstrated new devices running on Google’s Android operating system and Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro.
For instance, Samsung showed its Galaxy Tab 4 for Education , a 10-inch Android tablet designed specifically for schools.
The Galaxy Tab 4 comes with a “backpack-ready” protective case, and its screen is made of scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, said Jen Langhan, director of mobility product marketing for Samsung Education.
What’s more, users can have two application windows open at once—but maybe the Galaxy Tab 4’s biggest selling point is that it’s compatible with the Samsung School initiative, which includes software that allows teachers to manage Samsung mobile devices in their classrooms.
With Samsung School, teachers can share their screen with the class, monitor students’ screens, and freeze or control students’ devices. They can also create a customized Lesson Toolbar for instantly launching an app on all student devices, sending a resource or URL, or initiating a group activity.
Group collaboration features within Samsung School enable students to contribute simultaneously on a shared screen, or merge individual assignments into one to submit seamless group projects.
The Galaxy Tab 4 retails for $369, with volume discounts available. It ships as a “blank slate” for schools to fill with apps from the Google Play for Education store, Langhan said—but other tablet makers have opted for a different approach, creating devices that come bundled with educational software for added value.
(Next page: A new ed-tech device from Panasonic; low-cost devices from CDI; and more)
Panasonic unveiled a brand-new device for schools, developed in partnership with Intel and Microsoft. The Panasonic 3 E (which stands for “Engage, Empower, Enable”) is a 2-in-1 device that converts from a laptop to a tablet.
Developed from the design of Intel’s Classmate PC, the 3E features a detachable keyboard, a built-in handle for carrying the unit, and a rim around the screen so that if students place it face down on their desk, the screen won’t be damaged.
The 3E runs on Windows 8.1 Pro, allowing IT staff to push out content to the device easily. It also comes with an array of STEM-centric interactive features, such as a temperature probe and a snap-on fitting that turns the back camera into a microscope with a 30x zoom.
The 3E also comes loaded with Intel Lab Camera software, through which students can take snapshots of microscope images, make measurements, and develop time-lapse images; SPARKvue software from PASCO Scientific, with built-in lab activities; Microsoft OneNote; digital textbooks from Intel Kno; and more.
The 3E starts at $499 for a version with 32 gigabytes of storage; a 64GB version also is available.
CDI , a company best known for selling refurbished computers, showcased a number of custom-built mobile devices for schools. CDI’s devices are designed to help schools stretch their IT budgets, said Marketing Manager Melissa Yilaly.
For instance, CDI sells its own Android device, the UNOBOOK A10, which is a 10-inch Android tablet with a detachable keyboard, 32GB of storage, and a CDI software suite that includes NetSupport classroom management software, a mobile device management tool from Cisco, and a one-year subscription to certain curriculum software—all for just $259 with a one-year warranty.
CDI also sells a custom-built Windows 8 Pro device, the UNOBOOK 2/ter, a 10-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard, 64GB of storage, 2-megapixel front and rear cameras, and the CDI software suite—starting at $359 with a one-year warranty.
HP showed its EliteBook  line of devices, running Windows 8.1—including the EliteBook Revolve, a notebook computer that converts to a tablet, and the EliteBook 840, which reportedly features 33 hours of battery life thanks to an accessory battery stored under the device.
HP announced that Baltimore County Public Schools has purchased its Elite devices for a one-to-one computing program that will span more than 120,000 students and teachers. Before school begins in August, Baltimore County will distribute the HP EliteBook Revolve 810 G2 to all teachers and to students in grades one through three in its 10 lighthouse schools, HP said.
Follow Editorial Director Dennis Pierce on Twitter: @eSN_Dennis .
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