Emerging technologies and devices in education

Matt Britland

Matt Britland is Director of ICT at The Lady Eleanor Holles School and is also also the Director of Realise Learning, education consultancy. He writes for the guardian Teacher network and specialises in mobile technology, social media, education technology, Computing and is a regular conference speaker.

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After Bett last month, many in the education industry are considering the current state of technology in the classroom. There’s a wide range of gadgets that teachers can consider, and Matt Britland gives his thoughts on the options available.

Last year I wrote an article for the Guardian on the future of technology in education. This article focused on ‘The Cloud’ and its impact on education, whilst only briefly mentioning devices. As it’s now 2014, I thought it would be useful to revisit this subject and take a look at some things to look out for and how they can be used to support teaching and learning over the coming years.

Tablets

Schools are taking tablets very seriously at the moment, and many are investing in new devices. Apple has a bit of a stranglehold in education with its iPad, but with an influx of cheaper tablets more and more schools may opt for Android devices like the Tesco Hudl. Microsoft are trying to get involved with its new Surface 2, so 2014 or 2015 may see Apple losing its grip. The iPad is my preferred device, but it is expensive and schools need to decide how tablets will be used to support teaching and learning before they splash out. From a personal point of view, Apple need to make some improvements in order to keep ahead. Not all schools want to go 1:1, and there needs to be far better ways to manage devices used across the school. Multiple profiles on devices would be fantastic, as would true multitasking with apps working side-by-side; some operating systems are already offering this. Apple and other providers need to start talking to schools if they want us to invest money in their devices. Tablets are not always suitable for certain needs, Google Chromebooks are making headway in schools as many are looking at adopting Google Apps, which is free for education use.

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