We saw the introduction of iBooks 2 for schools the other day, but Motorola has already been working with schools on a program of their own. Recently, they gave XOOM tablets to one San Diego high school to use as they wish. The administrators chose to utilize the tablets in math and science classes for students that were identified with learning challenges. What did they find? The students became more excited and eager to learn through hands-on activities, educational games, and digital books.
“San Dieguito Union High School District has been working to redesign our schools to represent 21st century classrooms, and bringing tablet technology to our students was one of the first projects we initiated in order to meet that mandate,” said Bruce Cochrane, Executive Director of Pupil Services for the San Dieguito Union High School District. But why the Motorola XOOM? “Motorola XOOM tablets were the most logical choice not only due to their highly usable design, but also due to the tight integration of the hardware with the Honeycomb OS; our district is moving to Android and applications such as Google Docs, so the Motorola XOOM was an ideal platform to be able to share capabilities across all devices for teachers and students alike.”
Computers are nothing new to schools, but tablets will most likely be the future, which makes it a huge battlefield for Apple, Microsoft, and Google because it’s a huge market share to obtain. What makes the XOOM, and particularly Android a better alternative? Other than thousands of apps from the Android Market, schools can use Google Apps to share content. Google Apps gives access to the entire suite of Google products, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Talk. Communication in the classroom becomes open and accessible to everybody. It’s important to note that Google Apps is offered FREE to educators.
With the Motorola XOOM students can:
Read – with eReader capabilities for electronic textbooks, students can read actively; underlining important ideas, taking notes and instantly looking up words or concepts they don’t know to improve information retention.
Create – with the Motorola XOOM’s camera, video, word processing and drawing tools, students can create and edit all kinds of content, and share it instantly with their teachers and peers.
Access – students can access online learning sites such as Blackboard, Desire2Learn, etc. watch Flash-enabled videos.
Deliver – students can submit their assignments via Google Docs, which is not only efficient but also builds their arsenal of real-world workplace skills.
School Administrators and teachers also have the ability to custom-build their education with the Motorola XOOM:
Special-needs students gain text to speech capabilities, touchscreen keyboard and the ability to connect to special Bluetooth devices depending on each student’s particular challenges.
Hyperactive students benefit from the portability and movement within the device and the classroom, so they are less likely to act out.
ESL students can use translation and language applications to help them integrate faster into an English curriculum.
Students can access web-based academic interventions and character development activities as an alternative to traditional suspension to make that time productive and prevent them from falling behind the class.
All students gain greater access to tools to remediate their skill deficiencies, which helps improve standardized test scores in addition to making them more employable and more attractive to colleges and universities.
Currently, I have a three-year old so it will be interesting to see how technology in the schools evolve throughout his education. He already is using my ASUS Transformer for both educational and fun games. I agree that tablets will make students more engaged, but which operating system makes the most sense? It’s another war for Apple and Google to fight out, but the key isn’t only to offer the best service, but to make it affordable for both parents and the schools.