This Is What Happens When You Deploy Android Tablets In A Classroom

We’re constantly hearing chatter about deploying iPads in classrooms. For good reason, as iPads represent the vast majority of tablets in the market today. However, schools can’t always afford these premium devices and instead opt for lower priced Android tablets. That’s exactly what the Learning Untethered project did for a 5th grade classroom during the past academic year. They’ve just released a must-read report that details every aspect of how it went.

The report offers a high-level step-by-step guide to deploying Android tablets (or really any tablet like an iPad is also applicable to an extent) that would be helpful to anyone considering a deployment.

Key Takeaways

Here are the bullet points if you’re in a time crunch. Click here to download the 50-page report and plan on reading through it in its entirety when you have some time. It’s worth it.

  • How It Worked: An entire 5th grade class of 27 students was given a set of 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tabs running Android 2.2. They had a mobile data plan that included filtering from Kajeet for Education.
  • The School District’s Role: The school district came up with new policies, processes, and instituted IT support for the project.
  • Parental Involvement: The parents were involved in the project as well. They helped monitor Internet usage at home and helped students with hardware problems. They helped ensure that the devices were used for proper academic purposes while at home / away from the school’s filtered wi-fi.
  • Price: The overall price came out to be $200 per student per year.
  • Key Questions: The key questions asked at the outset of the project were about if Android was a viable alternative to iPads, if students could behave responsibly online, and if a tablet actually has a place in education.
  • Key Takeaways: The key takeaways were that tablets didn’t change the day-to-day tasks performed by students but instead enriched the overall complexity of classroom work.
  • Digital Citizenship: Students met expectations that they were able to behave responsibly during the time spent online.
  • Technical Problems: There were multiple technical problems throughout every week that required the tablets to be reset to factory settings. This lost the students’ data which in turn made students less happy with their devices. This was an ongoing problem and led students to not be able to rely on the tablets.
  • Technical Problems (cont.): The school hoped a software upgrade would fix the hanging and crashing problems with the tablets but the devices were no longer supported by Samsung. Something to seriously consider when deploying new technology.
  • Preferred Apps: Edmodo, Google Earth, Evernote, and YouTube were the most popular tools used.
  • The ‘Feel’ Of The Class: The overall ‘feel’ of the classroom shifted as students took a more active role in discovery and active learning.
  • Time Well Spent: The teacher was able to actually spend less time on teaching factual knowledge and instead had time to pursue higher-level learning and exploration.
  • BYOD Instead: If you’re not able to deploy dozens of devices, the study recommends trying a BYOD classroom. They saw a very obvious improvement in the mindset of the students thanks to the introduction of devices, so get them into your classroom any way you can.

Your Next Steps

Again, these are just the key takeaways from the study. The actual report (click here to download) is a must-read for any teacher looking to deploy technology. Period. It’s a report that not only offers a high-level step-by-step guide but also comes with recommendations, best practices, and even competitive market analysis.

Have you deployed technology and found different results? We’re compiling a list of real-world scenarios for the Edudemic Magazine so be sure to send your studies and findings to us at media[at]edudemic.com. Thanks in advance!

Thumbnail image courtesy of Learning Untethered

4 Comments

  1. All_Day_SCI-fi

    August 21, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I am typing this on a Google Nexus 7. Android 2.2!!! Give us a break.

    Why haven’t nations had a National Recommended Reading List for decades? Tablets with TF slots could take 32 gigabytes. So why don’t we have a standard 20 gig of educational material leaving 12 gig of workspace. Bo people realize how big a gigabyte is anymore? A gig can hold from 100 to 3000 books depending on the format and graphics. A long novel is only about a megabyte.

    But $100 dual-core Android 4.0 tablets from China are going to be killer.

  2. Michael Rosario

    August 25, 2012 at 4:30 am

    I think that the parent involvement was a pretty cool piece to the plan. Did you have to provide training to the parents for this?

  3. Jen P.

    November 20, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Nice article! Deployment can definitely be a challenge. Datamation Systems now offers both hubs and carts that can sync and charge Samsung Galaxy Tabs, which makes the process much easier. See link: http://www.ipadcarts.com/solutions/DS-Universal-Hubs.htm

  4. Michael Schroeder

    November 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Hello,

    We just purchased 90 Galaxy Tab 2 units for our teachers and students to use at hour high school. We are utilizing the “Flip” model of education, and thought that the Tab 2s would be a great way for students to gain access to each teacher’s online presence.

    My questions are related to set-up. We would like to install an app that would keep track of each unit, just in case one decided to grow legs and walk out the front door. Also, is there some sort of administrative app that would reset the unit back to the previous settings each time the unit was turned off? OR, are there applications out there that would assist in preventing students from downloading inappropriate apps.

    Any and all help would be helpful!

    Sincerely,
    Mike Schroeder
    English I/Technology Specialist