My current interest is to see just how affordable and possible having a tablet-based class is.
I started looking at iPads but at 400+ Euros each that soon looked a bit difficult. Then I came across this site: http://www.lightinthebox.com/fr/c/tablet-android_4781?keyword=tablette+tactile
Yes, tablets starting at 59Euros. This looks very tempting. At this price every student could be given one instead of a book. Sadly, as my tech guru Nik Peachey kindly pointed out, you do get what you pay. Low battery life, low resolution, limited memory, poor processing speed, unresponsive touchscreens and a generally poor overall quality with little or no warranty equals a possible waste of money.
So, then I came across a French brand that offers decent quality at a decent price, about 200E.
Reviews seemed to say they are OK for the money. The problem is that everything is compared to an iPad which may affect perspectives I presume.
Now, at this point I discovered some news…..Google is releasing a tablet and it’s out this month (in theory).
This changes things. Reviews say this tablet is probably the best there is apart from an iPad. It’s better than Samsung and a heck of a lot cheaper. Unlike the cheap ones above it is going to be available everywhere and so you won’t get stung on dodgy transport/tax/importation costs.
Imagine you are a DOS and you order in bulk then you might be able to get them for $150. Government schools even cheaper. Therefore, 10 would cost $1500. Sounds expensive but just one book can cost a fair bit like:
Add on the T book, workbook, CDs and all the usuals, then copying etc etc and for a class of 10 students that might be about 400Euros. Then for another class and another….
But just having the tablets does make sense financially if 1)Not all your classes are at the same time 2)You can use free or very cheap content 3)students want to use them and can print/save/access the materials later on.
The worry is that you’ll blow all the budget on the tech but have no materials to use. At that point you can use free access and use stuff online or just go basic i.e. read a text from today’s newspaper, watch a video from a programme on…from last week. Then you pull out and work on whatever grammar/vocab/language you want. You let speaking and writing evolve and hey presto. This way it stays less techie, the tablets are just a tool for input.
Next step would be you making stuff. Easy! Cut down a video with http://www.embedplus.com/ then embed it in a blog with a Google Form as a quiz. There’s a video task. Add a GDOC blank page and you have a group whiteboard…..All free!
From this perspective, tablets could help us become more creative, more up-to-date and open to new avenues for teaching. If you have some extra money though and fancy dabbling in e-material that’s anther area entirely and maybe a pricey one. If you want to stay in affordable territory though check out Edulang who have loads of stuff starting at $1. Another that’s worth looking at is Nearpod who currently offer a perfect solution for teacher-led tablet teaching. Yes, it’s only for iPad but an Android version is coming I think.
Well, there’s my recent mission. My conclusion is to wait for the Google tablet myself and then try to convince bosses that it’s the way forward, well, if it is. Fingers crossed.