I also believe students of all ages need access to a full-featured computer. Stand-alone software, especially at the secondary level, provides students with the full-featured tools they need to create. For instance, Adobe Clip is a powerful iPad app that easily allows a student to create a video. But, for students that have the passion for movie-making, they need  to have access to the full version of Adobe Premiere.  In addition, access to a scanner, MIDI keyboard, powerful CAD and game-making software, a 3D printer, and any other computer-based hardware and software need to be available at point of need.

I am often asked about recommendations for devices at the various grade levels of PreK-12. Here are my current thoughts and rationale for my choices.

PreK-Grade 1

With the huge number of content-based iPad apps that can support the early learner, the iPad is the best choice for this grade level. There are also easy-to-use creation apps for this age group that can be used to showcase acquisition of content. A full-size iPad (with at least 64GB of RAM) cart in each classroom, with an AppleTV and a large wall-mounted TV or monitor would be my recommendation.

Grades 2-4

For these grades, full-size, 64GB iPad Mini carts for each classroom, with the addition of keyboards, would be my recommendation. The smaller iPad Minis fit nicely in a student’s work area and when collaborating in a group with others. Again, an AppleTV and large wall-mounted monitor should be included in the classroom.

Grades 5-8

For the middle school student, I recommend a one-to-one Chromebook initiative, with the devices going between home and school if possible. With the off-line availability of Google Drive, these students can put their time on the team bus or at the dentist to good use. I would also recommend a cart of 64GB full-size iPads for every two to three classrooms to allow these grade levels to use the iPads for the creation of projects and products as assessments. In the classroom, Reflector 2 software (airsquirrels.com) running on the teacher’s Mac or Windows computer would be a good solution for mirroring student iPads to the desktop and viewable via the projector.

Grades 9-12

I would love to see all high schools investing in a one-to-one laptop initiative. However, I know this option is not within the reach of every district’s budget. So, my recommendation would be the same as for grades five to eight– a Chromebook for each student and and multiple full-size 64GB iPad carts in each department, In addition, having an iPad cart in the library, so students can work on creative projects there, as well as having “blinged-out” computer stations available with the more robust software and hardware, can also help meet the needs of students. Again, the addition of Reflector 2 software on the teacher’s Windows or Mac desktop should be considered for mirroring the iPads.

My resources to support mixed-platform schools

iPad information: ipads4teaching.net

Chromebooks in schools: www.schrockguide.net/chromebooks.html

Online tools: www.schrockguide.net/online-tools.html

Kathy Schrock is an online adjunct professor, an independent education technologist, and a nationally-known workshop and conference presenter. Find her online at online at Kathyshrock.net.