Mobile devices are widely used in teachers’, parents’ and students’ daily lives. In contrast with previous decades, today the use of smartphones and tablets is tightly linked with the completion of administrative tasks, communications and social norms. The introduction of technology in classroom is not always as fast as in daily life, since it is sometimes viewed with skepticism. From one side are the educators who consider that the introduction of technology brings many changes in the theaching curricula and that there are many teachers and schools who are not ready for such change. They also believe that engagement in technologic activities decreases the time students spend in physical exercise. On the other hand, there are teachers who view technology as a new educational tool, which could positively impact the educational process through the creation of ground-breaking educational environments and the creation of intrinsically motivating environments.
Students’ interest and engagement with mobile devices exists without doubt. In a recent study by CommonSense Media in the US, 75% of all children under eight years old had contact with at least one mobile device. The equivalent percentage for the same age group two years ago was 52%. The rapid increase of acceptance of these devices by the whole family is obvious. Among the users of such devices, 38% did use apps and games. Taking this information under consideration, it is important that we have a clear view on the existing mobile devices and their possible uses in classroom.
Smartphone is any device that offers advanced communication capabilities, in comparison to feature phones. As a general categorization principle, smartphones offer capabilities that include multimedia playback, digital cameras, internet connectivity, GPS and the use of third-party apps. These capabilities increase as time passes by. There is not one type of smartphone out there and this means that different smartphones offer different capabilities. Depending on the needs of a classroom, there could better solutions than others. One of the fields that Maskott specializes at is assessing the needs of a school or classroom unit and proposing the best possible solution.
Windows Phone devices are smartphones that use Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. There is a variety of manufacturers that create such phones, like Nokia, HTC, Samsung etc. Windows Phone are characterized by their easy to use, lightweight interface, which is ideal for simple tasks and users with not great experience in technology and IT.
iPhone is the device that caused the mobile device revolution. Designed by Apple, the iPhone offers a vast and mature application ecosystem and a very structured interface. There is a variety of possible iPhone devices, which are though by far higher in price in comparison to other manufacturers for less expensive phone categories.
Equipped with the Android operating system, that was developed by Google, Android Phones are probably the most widely used phones at the moment. Android also offers a great application ecosystem in a greater variety of prices by many manufacturers.
Tablet devices are actually portable computers with an integrated screen and battery. Tablet devices could be connected or not to a keyboard. The largest proportion of interaction however happens through their touch screen. Tablets also contain cameras, microphones, touch screens, pens (which replace physical keyboards), GPS, internet connectivity and motion sensors. As with smartphones, there are different types of tablet devices, mainly categorized by their operating system.
Windows Metro Tablets
Characterized by their flat and easy to use interface, Windows Metro Tablets are using Microsoft Windows OS. There is a great variety of tablet devices that use the Windows OS, offering the possibility to use both the new “Modern” User Interface or switch back to the traditional Windows interface and use any kind of app, like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud etc.
The iPad is Apple’s tablet that runs iOS. The iPad is characterized by its robust and lightweight structure. Using iOS, the iPad gives access to the vast iOS app ecosystem, which includes apps for education, medicine, sports etc.
Android tablets make use of Google’s Android OS. There is a great variety of manufacturers that offer Android Tablets in different sizes. Android tablets have access to a great variety of apps that were designed for the Android OS.
Based on the Tactileo Cloud Blog