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Tablet PCs

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Moomz, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. We were talking about getting a set of graphic calculators in our department today and our discussion moved on to the idea of having a set of Android driven tablet PCs instead. There are many that can be purchased for less than £100 now that could handle 3D graphing as well as having other uses. Does anyone have any experience with these? Would appreciate any advice at all really.

  2. We were talking about getting a set of graphic calculators in our department today and our discussion moved on to the idea of having a set of Android driven tablet PCs instead. There are many that can be purchased for less than £100 now that could handle 3D graphing as well as having other uses. Does anyone have any experience with these? Would appreciate any advice at all really.

  3. I dont have much knowledge in specific handsets but between geogebra and wolfram alpha I cant help thinking class sets of graphic calculators will become obselete.
    I still have a number of Ti83s and would never use them in a class as they seem so fiddly for the kids. At the time they were 75 plus quid a piece.
    I suppose it boils down to the kinda kids you have an how much control you can have over these handets. I would love to use them in a school where learning is paramount.
    The thought of them being used for social netwroking on the other hand.....
    You could look at having smartbord on them too and have the kids copy their work and present it to the class and you can give them smartboard (or another type of program) tasks to do in the class.
    I am all for e-learning as long as 'bang for buck' it enhances pupils understanding and engagement.
  4. These are exactly my thoughts. I'm sure we could get IT tostop them getting on to social networking websites etc. My vision for these is for them to replace graphic calculators, qwizdom, mini-whiteboards and to a certain extent the interactivity of the interactive whiteboard. I'm pretty sure the software is there for me to hit a button and display what is on Jack's screen etc.

    Eventually, surely tablet PCs will replace exercise books, textbooks, the need for so many IT suites..
  5. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    I'm not sure you can.
    Android isn't Windows; not only will your IT techs not be familiar with it, they wont have the remote management tools either (if there even are any remote management tools!).
    And Android gizmos are designed for the mobile phone operating model - one owner who can more or less do whatever he/she wants.
    So while some of the problems will go away, others will arrive.
    Oh sure, eventually (maybe even within 5 years), but the hardware isn't the problem, it's the software - and right now, manufacturers are interested in out-competing with one another in the easy-to-use, not in the corporate-easy-to-control mode which is what we need in a classroom.
  6. I know you were thinking of alternatives to graphical calculators but you might like to consider the new TI-Nspire CX Colour Graphical calculators... They are very powerful and can do a lot more 'maths' then you can currently do on an android tablet...


    I agree eventually tablets may become the best option, but I don't think we are there yet...
  7. My school has had a few Apple iPads using the internet in school, it was relatively easy to get them on to the school WiFi and subject them to the same restrictions as apply for internet usage on the rest of the system.

    Where tablet devices currently have a problem is the lack of multi-user login. The problem would go away if we had the funds to issue each child with an iPad but at the moment we have get pupils to email their work to their school account. I guess with many applications now available on a cloud basis, the need for expensive school networks and servers will diminish, other than to provide the WiFi infrastructure.
  8. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Internet usage via Wifi isn't the problem as you say

    That's the problem. The savvy kids with 3G phone contracts will work out they can put their SIM cards in the iPads and get to the net that way.
    And they'll bring in Apple cables (probably already do with their iPods) and, because there's no "administrator" role for the iPad will be able to upload software, music and, well, pretty much anything.
    It's a bit more sophisticated than leaning over to the kid sitting next to them and making his/her screen flip upside down with a keystroke combination or pulling the mouse out of the PC, etc., but it's actually far worse once accomplished.
  9. Thanks for all your replies. I guess I'm realising now that the software is going to cause the issue rather than the hardware.

    So here is the question: I have up to £4000 to spend... What do you think I should go for? I quite like the new nspires (I have had some experience with the first model as I had a group who took part in the challenge at my last school and they all got a free one for getting to the final - including me!) but can't find a supplier in the UK so am not sure of the cost.
    Alternatively, we could go for the tablets and hope the software we need is there in a couple of years and in the meantime rely on managing the students so they don't muck about with them. It should be fairly easy to trace back and find out if anyone has done something they shouldn't do.

    Am I right in thinking I can install things like Geogebra, Autograph, Smart Notebook, Excel etc straight onto these things using existing school licences??

  10. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Geogebra is free so no worries.
    The others mightdepend on the small print. Sometimes a school licence, is actually just 200 machines, and buying 50 new ipads might take you over the limit.
  11. The issue is less the licensing and more that most/all of this software won't run on an Andriod table you would need one of the much more expensive windows based tablets... You certainly wouldn't be able to run any of those packages on an ipad for example...
    With regard to the Nspire's I've been told they will cost around the same as the current version (maybe a few pound more), which would put them at around £90-100 per handheld... So for £4K you could buy a class set with some docking stations - worth also noting that each handheld comes with a copy of the student software which you could install in an ICT suite.
    The other option worth considering would be buying a half class-set, with the additional Navigator Wireless kit which adds in all sorts of interesting other features (like a more mathematical version of the Qwizdom 'clickers')...
    You can get TI-Nspire's from loads of suppliers, I have used Science Studio, Oxford Educational Supplies and Stewarts of Edinburgh in the past depending on who would give the best deal!
    If you are looking to buy for September then you could always do a 30day loan direct from TI and see if meets your needs...
  12. We only have five currently and they belong to the art department! The iPad is fantastic for art, it's amazing to use an app like Brushes and to literally paint with your fingers! There has been some great work produced there. I'm a big Apple fan, so I've managed to borrow them a couple of times but only really to allow pupils to produce Keynote presentations with. I've not had much chance yet to investigate how we can best use them in maths but I'm certainly going to look into it in the summer term: I'll report back then!

    In terms of security, the iPads live in the art department store. Good point about voting devices, I know Smart were going to develop some software for the iPod touch, so I would guess that would work with iPad. Again, I'll give a shout on here when I'm more up to speed.
  13. Just found it, 'SMART Response VE interactive'. Definitely works on iPod touch. Since it's a web interface, I reckon iPad would likely work too.
  14. The iPad is fantastic for art, it's amazing to use an app like Brushes and to literally paint with your fingers!
    Not relevant to the Maths discussion but I read at the weekend that you can now buy electronic brushes to use with the iPad which gives the real feel of painting, but digitally. David Hockney seems to be really enjoying this new medium. Perhaps I need to treat myself to an iPad 2. Mind you, my grandaughter has been literally painting with her fingers for the last year!
  15. I bought my own iPad last year, I'm somewhat sad to admit it but I bought it the day it came out, having rushed out of school on the bell to get to Apple Store!

    It's a very nice piece of kit and I feel sure it will be the way to go in education. This evening I found several apps that are either free or cheap that would be very useful for maths, including some fantastic graphing applications.Being able to move a graph of a 3d function about using your fingers is an amazing experience (maybe I should get out more!).

    That said, I love my MacBook Air even more...
  16. Thanks for all the responses once again. I am tempted by the thought of getting a set of iPod touches (will be easier to move around than the iPads and can do pretty much the same thing). Might see if we can get some older generation ones for a bit cheaper...

    On a personal note though, I am so getting an iPad 2, if only for the Uber-cool Smart Covers!!
  17. Please do come back and let us know how you get on. I agree, the iPod touch will be far easier to store and secure.

    On the purchasing front it might be worth contacting Apple directly and see if they will give a discount for a bulk order. On the Apple Store there is a section for Education, staff get about 10-15% discount on most products and institutional purchases a bit more. Worth a look anyhow.

    And no, I don't get commission from Apple, though I wish I did the number of people I know who have bought a Mac on my advice!

    Enjoy your iPad 2, and yes, SmartCovers look the business!

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