Posted in CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGIES, EDNews, Teachers' Lounge

iPad Alternatives for Education

For many the iPad is an exceptional mobile device. Unfortunately, its price may not be within the limited budgets facing school districts throughout the country. However, tech companies are developing some very interesting iPad-like devices specifically designed for education.

One such mobile device is the Kuno3 by CurriculumLoft. The Kuno uses the Android OS but can also work with CurriculumLoft’s  Explore 1-1 management software. The Explore 1-1 mobile operating interface allows school districts to embed web filters at the root level and enable which apps are accessible for an education environment.

It’s lightweight 1.4 lb. durable design features a high-definition screen with a camera on both the front and back. Initial price offer approximately $375 or less with available volume discount pricing.

CDI Computers Inc. is catering to the education market with the Unobook. CDI’s approach was to build a specific classroom mobile device with the power of an iPad but for half the price. According to COO Erez Pikar the tablet will cost $250 to $300. Pikar added the company’s goal is to offer schools a mobile device for $100 in the near future.

Schools are also experimenting with more popular consumer name devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 both listed for $199. Others include Barnes and Noble’s Nook Color $149 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 $249.99 (10.1 version $399).

Of course, the biggest tech buzz is the October 2012 launch of Microsoft’s Surface Tablet running on Windows new OS 8. Microsoft Surface will function as both a tablet and laptop. Although early reviews of Windows OS 8 are generally positive consumer reaction for the Surface Tablet remains uncertain until the October launch. But the question for educators is to determine if the Microsoft Surface will work well in an educational environment? In the past, Microsoft’s success has been more focused on the business sector.  Hopefully, Microsoft’s future will pay as much attention to the needs of education as it does for businesses. As of this writing, Microsoft has not officially announced a price for the Surface Tablet.

Other developing tech news worth following is the partnership between News Corp. and AT&T. Both companies have agreed to develop a pilot program for mobile technology with selected New York schools. The program named Amplify will provide K-12 students with a tablet and is scheduled to begin during the fall 2012 school year.

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