Whenever anyone mentions tech in the classroom, using iPads is one of the first options which springs to mind. But why limit yourself to Apple products? Here are 5 reasons to consider Android devices instead.
Devices and apps are cheaper, only one company makes iPads – Apple which means they determine the price. Android is a platform and Android tablets are made by numerous companies enabling greater competition and lower costs. Hardware can be purchased for a fraction of the price as you are not paying for the name or the look.
Choose the device which suits your needs. Do you really need a super slim design? Would you rather have a sturdier model which is easier for children to hold? How about a different user interface which better suited children with special needs? If you choose an iPad, you get an iPad, if you want a choice choose from the hundreds of Android tablets and devices on the market.
Apple love to use Apple connectors – Dock, Lightning, Displayport etc. This means you need specific chargers / linking cables and this can cause compatibility issues and the need for adaptors. Android tend to use industry standards, such as micro-USB and NFC. You could choose 10 different current Android devices and chances are they would all use the same micro-USB connector to charge and connect to computers.
If you want to program in the classroom what better way to engage students than to build an app which they can use on their phone or classroom device. Software such as App Inventor or Buzztouch use drag and drop logic to create apps, or you can write code using the free open source IDE Eclipse (for Windows, Mac and Linux). Android allows you to install apps onto your device without having to submit them to an app store, meaning you can create and share apps with your students for free.
Apple only have a very limited way to test an app you have created on a device, and you need register as an Apple developer (you also must have a Mac). If you wanted to distribute your app you would need to register as a developer costing $99 and submit your app to the App Store, which is notoriously picky when it comes to which apps it accepts.
Google Play (the Android app store) currently has around 800,000 apps compared to Apples 775,000, not a great difference but where Apple was once the definitive app store Google Play has caught up and is growing at a faster rate. More importantly around 65% – 70% of Android apps are free, only 30% of Apple apps are free. Many identical apps on both platforms are free on Android and paid for on Apple. It’s estimated there are over 3,000 free educational apps for Android to download. Here are some links to apps to get you going:
- Top free educational apps from Google Play
- 50 Free Android Apps Being Used in Education Right Now
- 30 Educational Android Apps for Kids
- 10 Best Free Android Apps
Do you use Android devices in the classroom? Let us know we would love to hear your views.