Take one tablet before going to school (but not the kind you think)

Take one tablet before going to school (but not the kind you think)

Take one tablet before going to school (but not the kind you think)

The end of the summer vacation brings with it a return to school, but before that comes “Back to School” time, when we buy all the equipment needed for school – pencils, pencil cases, notebooks, and… tablet computers. During the back to school period, manufacturers of tablet computer have brought their prices down to unprecedented lows, in order to compete for the attention of parents. HP, Amazon and Microsoft have all knocked hundreds of dollars of the prices for tablets, with the aim of making them an attractive option.

In Los Angeles, for example, a deal was recently signed with Apple, which would supply 640 thousand of its tablet computers to students in the education system.

Intel, too, recently announced an “Educational Tablet” project, with 7- and 10-inch tablet computers constructed specially for educational purposes, and sold only to educational institutions. Incidentally, Intel has had an ongoing romance with the classroom – some years ago Intel came out with a computer called a “Classmate,” intended specifically for children in the lower grades.

Apart from the standard specifications, Intel’s tablet come with a special stylus, which includes a thermometer, as well as a magnifying glass attached to a camera, and other tools intended to allow students to carry out experiments as part of their science education. In addition, the tablets are pre-loaded with various pieces of Intel software, aimed at making things easier for students and teachers alike.

One of the first organizations to understand the importance of computers as a learning tool, and one of the first to be active in this area, was One Laptop Per Child, which is trying to bring the message of educational computing to third world countries in general, and to Africa in particular. There too they have realized the potential inherent in the tablet computer market, and so they have recently launched a tablet for children, which will undergo adaptation to the various countries where it will be sold. In this context, we would point out that it was OLPC, which once aspired to create a basic laptop machine for children, that brought about the birth of the netbook, a simple, inexpensive laptop – and now they are joining the wave of tablet computers.

And what about the intended young consumers? They are certainly ready to adopt touch screens. According to a Nielsen survey published only a few days before this post was written, 75% of parents who own tablet computers allow their children to make use of them, and 54% of them report that the children use the tablets for educational purposes. Of those who don’t allow their children to touch their iPad, 20% said they would do so, if there were more educational material on those computers. And the pivotal finding: 71% of students who have made use of tablet computers stated that they would like to have their textbooks on them.