EdTech,  Technology

iPads Versus Android Tablets in Classrooms

Tablets have revolutionized the modern world. For one thing, it had one significant technical potential: the possibility of replacing traditional educational media with a convenient form factor that is efficient, lightweight, and comprehensive.

That is the reason Android Tablets and iPads have been envisioned as the standard educational tool in classrooms. However, how would the two play out? How would standard Android Tablet models fare with iPads when they are used by students in an educational setting? Let’s look at these three determining questions to give us a glimpse of both sides, good and bad points.

What is the implementation strategy?

In other words, how does the school envision the use of Android Tablets and iPads in classrooms? iPads have often been distributed in schools as an independent, almost personal device. Specific systems for the distributed iPads are often only developed and implemented in larger educational institutions. Android Tablets, on the other hand, usually have some default baseline or basic networking system (e.g., Google services) that allows data transfer between individual units. The overall benefit lies on how the units’ usage is perceived.

How will the students use them?

No matter how comprehensive the entire supporting system may be, the efficiency of Android Tablets and iPads still inevitably fall under student usage. If the previous question tackles the idea of the school itself, this question faces the student’s concept of using tablets and iPads. One of the best default attributes of a Android Tablet is that it provides an intuitive interface to which the student can interact with more variety. The establishment of the iPad as the top device for app development allows it to have the overall advantage in this case. However, we are dealing with students. With students’ active lifestyles, iPads’ fragility is of major concern, especially when looking at repair or replacement costs compared with tablets.

How have iPads’ worked in the past? 

In 2013, schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District was one of the countries most ambitious rollouts of technology to date, spending $1.3 billion on getting iPads’ preloaded with the Pearson Curriculum into every students hands, in every school in the city. While this was an exciting and ambitious move, it wasn’t long before iPads’ were turned off for good, with more than 35,000 students giving up on using the flawed Pearson Curriculum on their iPads’. The district has axed their contract with Apple, citing crippling technical issues with the Pearson platform, which, basically, made it nearly impossible for teachers to teach, as less than 5 percent of students were reported being able to log in.

Is it cost-effective?

The cost of implementing iPads and tablets deals with three major converging points: the actual cost of the device, the system of its implementation, and the curriculum to where its use will be adjusted. In a more simplified manner, though, we usually just take note of the unit’s individual prices. This is where iPads fall to a significant degree. Although its popularity has already led to many educational programs that advocate its use in classrooms, the fact is that you can get more or less the same amount of performance on another tablet at a significantly lower cost. It gets even worse when factored with the fact that entry-level laptops trump tablets regardless, anyway, because they were already the device standard in most educational institutions long before the iPad’s existence.

Christian Crisostomo
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