Tablet FAQs

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Introduction[edit]

If you have a question about using tablets in your school then ask it in the Tablet FAQs discussion - but first check to see whether it has already been answered below ...

If your question is specific to iPads then check out the iPad FAQs page and iPad FAQs discussion.

Evidence of what works[edit]

We are in the process of analysing data from the literature and 22 case studies looking at a range of digital technology strategies, including 1:1 computing, BYOD and BYOT (which often mean the use of Tablets). Check out: the case studies; emerging trends; and 'strategic advice' (all of which are still under development!)

Q: Are there any case study in a special need school?
A: The case studies that Vital commissioned in 2012 include two from special schools. (Answered by User:PeterT)

Strategic questions[edit]

Q: Are iPads better than Android Tablets (or other systems)?
A: iPads have dominated in schools (and elsewhere) because they were the original tablets (first mover advantage) and there were significantly more apps available for them. The quality and range of Tablets and associated apps have increased over time. I'm awaiting the results of Paul Hynes' evaluation of a range of different systems ... In the meantime check out this Prezi on some of the pros and cons of different mobile devices. (Answered by User:PeterT)

Q: Do you see more schools going to Chromebooks versus iPads?
A: No. My perception is that many more schools are going down the tablet route than the Chromebook one. (Answered by User:PeterT)

Q: Are there any trends that suggest one tablet over another? Eg. iPads promoting pupils as 'consumers' of digital content, while encouraging pupils to be 'producers' of digital content.
Up until quite recently (e.g. early 2013) the vast majority of schools were buying iPads. As yet I have seen little in the way of research evidence that compares the pedagogical impact of different types of tablets. However, there is a clear strategic distinction between trying to incorporate tablets as part of 'school technology' (e.g. managed and controlled by the network manager) and using them as consumer devices (e.g. controlled by the individual user). I would be surprised if these two strategies didn't lead to different kinds of outcomes. (Answered by User:PeterT)

Q: Can you tell us more about the Samsung Solution?
A: This is at the 'school control' end of the spectrum because it allows the school/teacher to control the tablets (e.g. sharing her 'desktop' on all of the pupils' tablets). Find out more ... (Answered by User:PeterT)

Q: How are the roll-outs occurring? One grade level at a time or to all students at once?
A: They vary from small pilots, being gradually extended to whole year groups through to one big hit with the whole school going 1:1 all at once. More successful strategies seem to be to have planned carefully, ensured that the technical infrastructure is robust enough to cope with all the machines, provided adequate staff preparation (including letting them have the kit before the pupils) and ongoing sharing of lessons learnt, have got parents and pupils on board, agreed responsible use policies, ensured that all the machines have robust protective cases, and sorted out the other logistics. (Answered by User:PeterT)

Q: Thinking about BYOD, are there any insurance options for breakage or damage?
A: Yes - I know of one school that sells cover for pupils' own devices to them for £60 per year which covers breakages and theft. I am not best placed to recommend specific companies, but many educational suppliers will be able to help you sort out insurance. Most insurance options will require that the tablets are protected by a case/cover that meets certain criteria, but you would be crazy to issue tablets to pupils without a decent protective case/cover anyway. (Answered by User:PeterT)

Q: How safe is it for Primary children to save work in the cloud?
I think if it is a Private cloud there shouldn't be any more potential dangers than working on a physical network. However, I do think there is a generic danger in that as soon as you use a cloud services provider you are making it possible for a third party to have access to private data. I think he most practical answer to this is to go with a company that is both well-established and which conforms to the EU Data Protection laws. (Answered by User:Terryfreedman)

Pedagogical questions[edit]

Q: How are teachers dealing with monitoring inappropriate sites introduced by pupils?
A: On a technical level the Internet connections are still filtered and many schools use software to control device's access to network facilities (and monitor use). However, the critical elements in ensuring appropriate use of devices are human and cultural.

You need to have a responsible use policy which:

  • pupils understand and buy into (get them involved in writing it)
  • is short and models good behaviours/expectations (rather than a list of bad things you must not do)
  • integrates with your school's approach to behaviour management - if someone is misbehaving in your class that is a behaviour issue whether or not that misbehaviour involves mobile devices

Remember that whether or not your school permits pupils to use mobile devices in lessons, the chances are that many of them have Internet enabled mobile devices which the can and will use outside lessons (and may be very adept at using surreptitiously in lessons). Are you better having mobile device use 'out in the open' or being used 'illegally'? (Answered by User:PeterT)

Q: What was the age of the youngest students who are doing 1:1? In terms of taking devices home, I think Year 5 is the youngest I've ever seen, but I have come across a school where they use tablets or netbooks in class in Years 3 and 4. (Answered by User:Terryfreedman) If you know of younger children in 1:1 classrooms please tell us here ...

Technical questions[edit]

Questions to answer[edit]

If you know answers to these questions - or have a view on them - then please leap in and respond ...

Q: What data did you gather about the e-safeguarding aspects of BYOD?

Q: what if anything do you see as the role of "IT support"/technicians?

Q: How have schools solved the storage problem in 1:1 situations?