Tablet computing has been around for many years and has come in a number of guises, from PDAs and handheld devices to touch screen laptops. The launch of the Apple iPad in 2010 had possibly the first huge impact on this ares of computing however as these devices built on the success of the 'smartphones' which preceeded them and were purchased in such significant quantity that they became truly mainstream for the first time.
Almost immediately, educators worldwide saw the potential for harnessing significant learning power from using these tablets within schools and early trials were followed by more widestream roll-outs in many countries across the world. Consequently, there is now a significant amount of educational research to draw on to help us use tablets most effectively to add breadth and depth to pupils learning and experiences at all ages.
Having run smaller classroom trials for ourselves over the previous 2 years, this academic year we were a position to begin to harness the power of these devices on a wider scale, to the benefit of more of our pupils for more of the time.
Rolling out a 1-1 tablet programme is a huge task and consequently it's important to be able to manage the process effectively, based on achieving the best educational outcomes for our pupils at all points.
Consequently, choosing a single device to begin this process was a key decision to make. Having investigated the options available, along with the choices made by other schools already piloting tablet projects, there was a clear value for money favourite for producing excellent educational outcomes. We have therefore currently opted to use the Apple iPad Mini as our tablet of choice.
As we rapidly develop this area this will provide a 'known' device which is familiar to many pupils and staff, consistency of hardware and a huge range of available apps. As the iPad is manufactured solely by Apple, the capabilities of the device are known and remain constant, meaning that at this stage, we won't have to worry whether or not individual devices have specific features or enough power to perform certain tasks.
In the future we hope to be able to support a wider range of tablets and handheld devices, regardless of the software they run.