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iPad-ict a riot! Techno Geek takes a look at the latest trend to sweep the classroom: the invasion of the tablet computers
Tablet computers have been around for years and years, and where always seen as a gimicky way to get things done. The reason why they weren’t very popular is that they weren’t very good, the touch screens had more in common with stirring a jar of treacle with your finger than the slick futurisitic experience most of us are used to now on our smartphones. Then Steve Jobs decided he would do what he did to the mobile phone to the tablet computer and over night created a multibillion dollar industry spawning a cavalcade of imitations. Peoples initial reaction was, whats it for? Is it a laptop? (There is no traditional keyboard.) Is it an e-reader? (Kind of expensive just to read books off!) Is it a phone? (No, but it is a mobile communication device.) Well, its all of these things, and a lot more. Via its ‘apps’, a tablet computer allows the user to interact intuitively with the device, removing the barrier of a keyboard and mouse, which can be limiting for people who haven’t grown up using them. Its an internet browser, plays video and does basically everything a laptop will do but its in the palm of your hand and is much simpler to use. The variety of apps available are mind blowing, and there are a whole lot of them for use in the classroom. This makes them an amazing tool for use in schools, indeed many schools are quickly adopting them as they see the benefits that there kids are getting from them. Children have grown up with this kind of technology, so it is no great leap to use them in the learning process. The kids love them! It’s a whole lot more engaging for them They are simple to use, with a touch screen interface the technology stays out of the way. The cost is extremely competitive – tablets on the whole are cheaper than there less portable rivals Mobile versions of websites can be built into your VLE. There is an excellent video blog post from Moorside College about using iPads in a PE lesson: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=KR_bOGaE09Y. There are a couple of different options when looking at purchasing a tablet for your school. The iPad is far and away the most famous of all the tabs, and has a host of apps along with it. Android-based tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy tab, are the next most popular and based on Google’s Android operating system. They both have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost and availability of apps. While the iPad seems to be proving most popular, the Android is definitely holding its own.
APPS For Education 1. Zebra Paint Paint with your fingers! 2. Maths Workout Test your mental maths and exercise your brain once a day. 3. Brain Genius Deluxe Get a head start to getting smart by playing through a daily dose of brain exercises. 4. WordPlayer Art of War WordPlayer is a book reader that allows you to add to your library from thousands of instantly downloadable books or load epub books. 5. My Maps Editor by Google Create, edit, share, and view personalised maps on your phone. 6. WikiMobile Encyclopedia Being a walking encyclopedia is now at your fingertips. 7. Google Sky Map Google Sky Map: A star map for Android. 8. Pintail (not educational but useful) Lost your phone? Find it with an SMS: Pintail replies automatically with your phone’s location to a PIN-protected message 9. School Email (UK-only as of yet) An easy and safe service for pupil and teacher emailing. Emails are checked for sexual predators and bullying. 10. Keepy Uppy A good reward for good work. With thanks to John McClear of mcclear.co.uk
ICT Matters October Edition