I recently had the opportunity to provide feedback and suggest revisions to a draft report about a yearlong pilot of Android tablet devices in a 5th grade classroom. The lessons learned, obstacles avoided and learning opportunities revealed reaffirmed two things for me:
- teaching is always unpredictable and rewarding all that the same time; and,
- that mobile technology enriches and empowers the learner.
What interested me in this pilot was the use of Android tablets because of the potential to use functionality suited to the education enterprise that Apple hasn’t chosen to support or enable. For example, the Android devices had broadband data plans provided by Kajeet, a service that provides a “bulk” data plan for multiple devices (at a savings of 50% compared to using AT&T or Verizon, the only two choices supported by Apple for the iPad).
In the end, the pilot experienced many of the same challenges and transformations as any other 1:1 iPad initiative:
- Higher student engagement
- An evolution of instructional methods
- Success at working around technology quirks