It is a fallacy promoted by IT vendors that one device can satisfy every possible educational use. You wouldn’t use a laptop to record a competitor on the sports field, likewise you wouldn’t type an A-level essay on an iPad.
We propose a model showing that for longer duration or higher complexity tasks, you need more powerful and probably less portable equipment.
- Low duration/complexity : web research, photo or video capture, blogging/tweeting, scanning QR codes, reading ebooks, quizzes, surveys etc.
- Longer duration/complexity : word processing, programming, movie editing etc.
For Key Stage 3 (years 7-9), we are recommending a tablet device.
For Key Stage 4 (years 10 & 11), we are recommending a tablet device (or a laptop/netbook/Chromebook device for specific needs)
For Sixth Form, we are recommending a laptop or Chromebook device
For Key Stage 3 and 4, a suitable device is a requirement, as per school policy. For sixth form, a device is optional but strongly recommended.
A ‘smartphone’ is not a suitable learning device for this programme. Screen sizes are simply too small to be able to use eBooks, conduct research, write presentations or essays etc. Furthermore, we require access to the Internet to be via our filtered WiFi and require devices with 3G/4G connections to have them switched off for the safety of our students and staff. The ‘no phones in lessons’ rule makes this much easier to monitor.
Minimum Standards for Devices
Key Stage 3/4
- At least a 7″ screen
- At least a 5 hour battery life
- Wireless networking and internet
- Still and video camera recording facility
- At least 16Gb of storage
- iOS v7+ or Android Jelly Bean 4.1+ preferred.
Typical devices that would be suitable would be any Apple iPad higher than version 1 (mini, 2, retina, air etc), popular Android tablets such as Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy, Tesco Hudl. Some students have opted for Windows tablets (e.g. Acer Iconia Tab 8), Chromebooks or hybrid tablets with detachable keyboards. These will be fine in general, though be aware that not all Apps on the recommended list are available for these platforms and the laptop format is less portable for students and not well suited for still/video photography.
Key Stage 5
- At least a 10″ screen and keyboard
- At least a 3 hour battery life
- Wireless networking
- Access to Office style productivity software (school will provide Office 365)
Almost any reasonably modern laptop will suffice, particularly from the main brands of Acer, Asus, Toshiba, Lenovo, HP, Dell etc.
Students are given unlimited cloud storage space on Google Drive, meaning storage on the device itself is less of an issue.