The complete guide to picking the right device for every grade level

Ed-tech expert Kathy Schrock weighs in on mixed platform solutions for all grade levels

mixed-devicesA few years ago, many school districts jumped on the iPad bandwagon, when they were still brand new. The fact is they were easy to justify for a purchase of a shared cart since the Apple app store had so many wonderful applications for remediation, practice, and extension. These districts purchased the first iPad, which did not mirror and, believe it or not, had no built-in camera. Other districts waited for the second version to be released, which did have a camera and could be mirrored via Apple TV or the Reflector app, but only purchased the model with 16GB of RAM.

After a while, it became evident that maintaining a shared cart of iPads was no small feat. Taking care of the installation of apps and maintenance of the devices, as well as providing a positive experience for each shared user, was not easy. The 16GB of RAM was quickly eaten up by graphic-intensive apps, i-books, and PDF files, and the use of the camera for taking photos and videos. Schools began to think twice.

Enter the Chromebook, a device which was much cheaper and required little maintenance. However, even here there were difficulties at first as students needed to be attached to the internet to use the online Google tools and many of popular Flash-based sites were simply incompatible.…Read More

6 reasons why Chromebooks are the device of the moment

What makes Chromebooks popular, and will they outlast their buzz?

google-devicesAs the familiar refrain goes, “It’s not about the device,” but even so schools need to choose one to advance their digital instruction goals. And by all accounts, Chromebooks are the device of the moment, with 2.5 million shipped to schools in the first half of this year alone. There’s no doubt they’re trendy, but is there any deeper reasons for the sales surge beyond appearance and affordability? Recently, I joined host Larry Jacobs and Google Certified Innovator and trainer Chris Scott for an episode of Education Talk Radio in which we talked through these issues at length and came up with a handful of reasons for the Chromebook’s trendsetting status. Here’s the CliffsNotes of that discussion, but be sure to check out the full conversation available online.

Google’s name has staying power. We’ve been Googling for more than a decade by this point, and with the near ubiquity of Google Apps for Education in the nation’s classrooms, educators and students feel comfortable with the Google ecosystem. Branding helps, but at the end of the day, educators do realize that Google is just the conduit for students to advance their learning, not the first and last steps.

Chromebooks have some surface-level advantages. First, they’re cheap, with models often starting around $200. And while the cheaper cost can mean lower quality, it also means cheap replacement parts, too. IT management is simple — and there are few horror stories equaling what schools went through with iPads. They’re easy to share among students, and at a time when online high-stakes testing is still very much a part of the conversation, Chromebooks have the all-important built-in keyboard. None of these things necessarily makes the Chromebook the ideal or superior device for education, but they certainly don’t hurt.…Read More

Top 10 of 2014, No. 10: Mobile devices and mobile learning

eSchool News highlights some of the 10 most significant ed-tech developments of 2014, and mobile learning is No. 10

Each year, the eSchool News editors compile 10 of the most influential ed-tech developments and examine how those topics dominated K-12 ed-tech conversations. No. 10 on our list for 2014 is mobile learning.

This year, educators focused on putting mobile devices in students’ hands in an effort to help them learn valuable technology skills that will carry them through college and the workforce.…Read More

Top ways to choose and use tech in early education

Proper early childhood education technology use is critical

early-educationMaking sure that young children benefit from technology isn’t quite as simple as handing a child a mobile device with age-appropriate apps. But using a series of questions and requirements can help ensure that technology in early childhood education environments makes a big impact.

Research has already established some key steps to better early childhood technology use, and ensuring that technology resources and software meet certain requirements can enhance young students’ experiences and learning.

Technology tools are just like paper, blocks, or crayons–they’re materials from which teachers can select to facilitate learning and play.…Read More

The 6 hidden tricks for Bring-Your-Own-Device success

What every school district needs to know–outside of devices–that will make BYOD implementation a success

device-BYOD-districtBy now, most districts considering the implementation of BYOD know there’s a lot more to success than apps and devices. But how can districts accurately measure how much bandwidth is needed? How do you ensure the quality of student work outside of simply using an app? And can you truly ensure equity? According to one school district, there are hidden gems of BYOD implementation wisdom…and they’re ready to share what they’ve uncovered.

For Dr. Tim Clark, author of the BYOD Network Blog and coordinator of instructional technology at Forsyth County Schools, Ga., Forsyth always knew that implementing BYOD was “more than just devices—it’s about a shift in instruction. It is our biggest transformational shift in teaching and learning in the district.”

The district, which has a Learner Profile to guide district policy and practice, places BYOD implementation in the ‘instructional initiative’ category, since it’s not just a ‘device initiative,’ noted Clark.…Read More

10 school solutions for mobile device management

Bring Your Own Device initiatives just got a whole lot easier for schools

school-device

Schools usually never do anything on a small scale, and that includes the recent boom in “bring your own device” (BYOD) initiatives. From smartphones to tablets and iPads, mobile device management (MDM) has never been more vital for a successful school BYOD program. However, choosing a mobile device management solution can be a daunting task, especially in light of already-strained school IT resources and limited administrator knowledge beyond what device to implement.

That’s why the editors of eSchool News have hand-picked 10 school solutions for mobile device management, based on scope of the solution, how well the vendor incorporates school-specific needs, and industry reputation.…Read More