With an influx of new Android-based education tablets, Apple could see its status wane

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As more tablets emerge in the ed-tech marketplace, including Intel’s new education-focused tablets designed with science inquiry and online collaboration in mind, tablet users are moving into two separate camps: those who are loyal to iOS devices, and those who favor newer, non-Apple tablets.

Many IT leaders remain firmly planted in the Apple camp. One reason, besides Apple’s decades-long relationship with schools (which includes education discounts), is that the iPad was one of the first mass-consumed mobile tablets with an incredibly intuitive interface and thousands of vetted applications, many developed specifically for educators. With one click, IT administrators can roll out a host of apps used for classroom learning.

Another reason the iPad infiltrated the education market so quickly is because of its ability to serve as an eBook reader—a functionality many schools found useful thanks to a growing shift to digital texts. Plus, many teachers and students seemed comfortable navigating a technology they already used in their personal lives.

But in an age when technology is constantly changing, is the iPad still the best tablet option for schools?

(Next page: Tablets made for education)

Tablets made just for education

Since the iPad’s introduction, there have been many other tablets for schools to consider, including Microsoft’s Surface, Dell’s cheaper latitude, and Sony’s Xperia Tablet S.

The Xperia Tablet S:

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There are also education-customized tablets, such as eduPad, VINCI, and LeapPad2, but many of these devices cater mainly to younger students.

However, Intel, which currently offers the Classmate PC convertible laptop (which runs on Windows or Linux), is going one step further with its new Android-based Education Tablet. Tablet. The device incorporates many concepts currently encouraged in 21st-century learning initiatives, such as online group collaboration, multimedia tools for projects, and a robust science curriculum.

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The 10-inch tablet includes:

  • A time-lapse imagery capture, a microscope, pathfinder analysis, universal logger, kinematics, and motion triggering as part of  Intel Lab Camera.
  • A Media Camera the includes a recorder to take pictures, record video, and perform basic media editing; as well as a presenter with advanced tools, such as annotate, rotate, and resize to enhance all pictures, not just the ones from Media Camera.
  • MyScript Notes, which allows students to take quick notes in a variety of notebooks using their stylus or a finger.
  • MyScript Stylus, which turns students’ handwriting into any text in any application that accepts text input.
  • ArtRage, a multimedia art tool that includes painting and drawing.
  • SPARKvue, which helps students analyze and report their findings from scientific experiments involving temperature, acceleration, light, magnetic fields, and more. This tool also comes with 60 built-in labs that educators can customize.
  • A classroom management application called eLearning by Mythware that helps teachers manage individual, group, or entire class activities from their PC. Teachers can deliver interactive lesson content, monitor student learning, administer assessments, transfer files to individual students or the entire class, monitor student screens, and chat with each student.

(Next page: Specs and Intel’s preview video)

Other notable features of Intel’s education tablet include a mobile PDF reader, eReader software, skoool content, math and science videos from Khan Academy, English Language Learning resources from the British Council, a collection of digital literacy resources, professional development courses, McAfee Mobile Security, and a Theft Deterrent solution.

Find device specs here: 10-inch tablet; 7-inch tablet.

Highlights include an Intel Atom Z2420 processor and Android 4.1 for the 7-inch model, while the 10-inch model is powered by an Atom 2460 chip and Android 4.0. Each comes with 1GB of RAM, with the 7-inch Education Tablet including 8GB of flash storage and the 10-inch version coming with 16GB.

Middle School Science with SPARKvue:

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Intel had not released pricing information on these new Android-based tablets as of press time, but with so many other education tablets crowding the market, Intel likely will offer competitive pricing for volume purchases.

“Intel remains committed to helping teachers and students achieve better results through the development of complete solutions that span the hardware, software, and digital content required for a 21st-century learning experience,” said John Galvin, vice president of Intel’s sales and marketing group and general manager of Intel Education. “The tablet we are introducing is one additional step in a 10-year journey.”

The new tablets won’t be part of Intel’s Classmate line of products; because they are reference designs rather than final products, Intel’s system builder partners will brand their own versions of the devices, an Intel representative explained.

Meris Stansbury

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