How Do You Use an Android Tablet in a School Setting?
Most tablet devices are designed for a consumer audience but that certainly hasn’t kept educators from embracing them for use in a school setting. We asked the winners of our Android tablet giveaway to share examples of the sorts of things they and their students have been doing with the Android devices and here’s what we learned:
Shelley Job, a high school teacher in the Hanover-Horton Schools in Michigan tells us that she only had access to a desktop computer before she started working with the tablet and she’s thrilled with the mobility that her new device offers. “I can go to another classroom, the library, the teacher's lounge, or home, and use it for email, taking attendance, or posting grades.”
Jamie Vandergrift, an instructional technology specialist at Sara Harp Minter Elementary School in Fayetteville, Georgia, also appreciates the mobility and uses her Android tablet to move around the classroom to observe students and model activities for them. “I partnered with a first grade teacher on a performance-based learning assessment in math using Lensoo Create,” she explains. “We sat on the floor and both of us used the tablet to model the learning expectation students would do interdependently on their own devices. We were then able to use the tablet to take pictures of the students working on this task and provide great documentation of our digital learning activities with our district technology department.”
Debby Fromen is new this year to her role as a K-5 technology integration specialist at the Medford School in Massachusetts. She tells us, “I use the tablet for meetings with both teachers and administrators, taking photos to tweet, investigating apps, and more! Our district adopted Google Apps for Education last year, and I love how seamless this integration is on the Android tablet.”
Jeff Wiseman, technology facilitator at Lone Star High School in Frisco, TX, says that the Android tablet has been particularly useful at the campus technology office. “Our school district has a BYOD policy that allows students to use their own mobile devices in the classroom for learning activities. I have been using the tablet to find and test Android-specific alternatives to iOS apps and to test device-neutral learning tools when I'm working with teachers to plan BYOD lessons and activities. That way they can give app suggestions to students, regardless of what OS they are using.”
Steve Young, CTO of Texas’ Judson ISD, has found all sorts of administrative uses for the Android tablet, especially after souping it up with peripherals. “Like many tablet owners,” he says, “I immediately had to turn it into a mini laptop. I added a Logitech keyboard case that really lets the tablet shine, as I am always having to type emails, logins, etc. Other than typical work and meeting productivity, I really just enjoy the tablet for staying current on news and technology using Zite and Google Play Newsstand.”
A Creation Tool for Students
In addition to using the Android tablet for her own work, Shelley Job frequently places it in the hands of students so they can make movies and do other creative projects. “My students have made public service announcements on the tablet,” she says. “This was a big help especially for those students who do not have any computer or cell phone. I am the adviser for the school newspaper and we went to an online-only paper this year, so it helped my students post stories to the page, take pictures for articles and do things that they couldn't do before.”
According to Jamie Vandergrift, kindergarten and first grade students at her school have used creativity tools such as Tellagami, Pic Collage, and Lensoo Create to build on content-based skills. She adds, “I plan to work with the 3rd grade soon on their economics unit in which we can use the tablet to allow students the opportunity to ‘buy’ a time slot and produce a commercial advertising their product. We are always looking for new ways to make this one tablet go a long way at Sara Harp Minter! “
Tanya Humes, English teacher at Milford High School in Delaware has used Android tablets with her 10th grade students to create ads as part of a lesson on using ethos, pathos and logos. She says, “The tablets supported their collaboration and ease in navigating the Internet while researching the needed elements.”
Other Curriculum Uses
Shelley Job’s students use the tablet for viewing, as well as making, videos. She also offers them the chance to listen to audio books on the Android device. “My students love this. Some of them need to hear the story as they read it. This only requires a set of headphones and no one is disrupted.”
Myra Deister, mathematics and computer science teacher at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, CA, describes various ways she has used the Android tablet as part of the STEM curriculum at her school. “Computer Science students used the tablet to control a Sphero Robot. They also assisted with a STEM event that the PTA planned, helping K-8 students paint pictures using the Sphero Robot controlled by the tablet. We also used the tablet to graph functions using Desmos.com in my mathematics class. Additionally the students used it to access the Auras I had created on Aurasma.”
We’d love to hear from you. How are you using Android tablets in your school or district? Use the Comments field below to share your experiences.