Will schools be tempted to buy tablets to use Windows 8?

Will schools be tempted to buy tablets to use Windows 8?

Summary: Is the launch of Windows 8 affecting the purchase of tablets by schools?

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TOPICS: Tablets
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It wasn't so long ago that interactive white boards were the new novelty of the classroom. Now, with an emphasis placed on apps for education and the possibility of "revolutionizing education" promoted by Steve Jobs, some schools are considering jumping from desktops to tablet devices.

A new survey, conducted by the British Education Suppliers Association (BESA) in May, suggests that schools who have the means to invest in such items are holding back until Windows 8 is released -- if it meets expectations, then a number of integration concerns could be wiped out.

The research included 500 schools, of whom 90 were primary (Elementary and Middle school ages) and 310 were secondary (High school) in the UK.

The BESA report indicates that 6 percent of all "pupil-facing computers" will be tablets that do not run the Windows platform by the end of the year -- a figure predicted to climb to 22 percent by 2015 according to the schools included in the research.

82 percent of teachers felt that their students were interested in the idea of using tablets in the classroom, and many of them were already familiar with a number of applications that are available on these kinds of devices. Unsurprising when you consider the average age of children with access to tablets and mobile devices is decreasing, and mobile integration becomes more firmly integrated into daily life.

However, schools are now more wary about investing in classroom technology, especially considering the economic climate, large class sizes and budget constraints -- 72 percent stating they wanted substantial evidence of a device's classroom value before purchases are made.

If a tablet computer offers nothing new to a class in comparison to a cheaper netbook or desktop model, it is unlikely a school would want to commit to the investment required -- from training staff, maintaining the tablets, downloading apps and putting security measures in place.

In addition, 61 percent of schools that cater for younger children and 39 percent of establishments for teenagers still believe it is "important" or "very important" to receive governmental approval before investing in tablet computing. Despite governmental policy awarding schools the autonomy to choose their own technological requirements set in place two years ago, these findings suggest that educational establishments still want to be given direction by a higher authority.

Caroline Wright, director of BESA said:

"This is a very exciting time for schools and education technology providers. We see that, in the absence of DfE directives, schools are becoming increasingly savvy in their ICT procurement and also taking their time to make the right desicions fo their pupils based on research evidence, financial and educational value-for-money considerations.

Schools increasingly support the view that they need to consider ways to integrate the technology and learning that pupils' experience inside the classroom with their use of IT outside school."

It's not just the issue of unifying platforms on tablets and desktops that schools are concerned by. Windows 8 may offer the opportunity to better manage and secure tablet use, but funding constraints are also a worry -- 82 percent unsure if modernizing classrooms in this way could even be afforded.

How to manage and secure these mobile devices concerned 85 percent of schools, three-quarters were unsure if it added value enough to learning to make the investment worthwhile, and 71 percent said that the initial setup and payment for the tablet and required apps was also a significant barrier to tablet adoption.

Image credit: Johan Larsson

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Topic: Tablets

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20 comments
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  • no way!

    android tablets are so much better. why pay M$ tax?
    The Linux Geek
    • A is better than B

      How will we know that tablets that are out now are any better or worse than ones that haven't even been designed?
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Windows 8 Tablets

      With Blue Stacks, Windows 8 Tablets will run Android apps as well as windows apps....So who needs or wants an android tablet anymore?
      gomigomijunk
      • Android Tablets

        With online, You can run a full windows 7 desktop on your android tablet.
        Sorry couldn't resist..
        Anthony E
      • And for those who've . . .

        integrated AD into their environment and all of the group policy bells and whistles there are, then the answer is BIG YES. As a HS math teacher, I would much prefer to have a totally locked down tablet that only does what I need it to do and nothing, and I mean absolutely, nothing else.

        Where MS could really differentiate in this space is giving teachers an easy to use console that allows them to manage certain features of the tablets assigned to them. In other words, only show certain applications, web sites, or disable wireless network connectivity all together. Now that would be sweet!
        jjworleyeoe
      • jjworleyeoe, that's the rub

        Window RT can't join AD Domains... So you'd have to but the more expensive x86 tablets, like the ones that have been available for nearly a decade.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
    • Why do you hate Microsoft?

      A true Linux, Open Source Lover will never support android.
      Too much control in the hands of Google.
      It is the least Open source project due to its exclusive market and hidden roadmap.
      You should look forward to Ubuntu/ WebOS / Tizen tablets.
      deva_p
  • Get ready for PC vs. Mac, Verse 2.

    Just like the original controversy about PCs being good for "serious work" and Macs being "toys", there will be the same debate when it comes to Win8 tablets vs. iPads. Some educators probably feel that a Win8 tablet would better prepare students for the "real world". I thought maybe we were past that, but I guess not.
    Userama
    • The funniest part of that

      "Just like the original controversy about PCs being good for "serious work" and Macs being "toys""
      Was the next argument was Windows PCs have all the best games! Never understanding that playing "games" means the computer is just an expensive toy!
      Jumpin Jack Flash
  • I know of at least one school that is switching

    A school in New Jersey that specializes in working with children with multiple disabilities has made heavy use of the iPad for the past 2 years. They are now planning on switching everything over to Windows 8.
    sharkboyjohn
    • Why would they do that, if they already have the investment in the iPad?

      they would have to heavilly re-invest in Windows 8, or at the very least need to run a mixed environment, which also cost more.
      William Farrel
      • Why

        1) It legitimately is a better cost over a five year time frame.

        2) They've been promised an awesome deal in hardware and licenses.

        3) The IT bureaucracy believes that they cannot do the job they've been assigned, except that the kids are uniformly Windowed, and that justifies added costs.

        4) The IT folks figure their Windows servers have more value if all clients are Windows.

        5) The IT folks hate Apple and have sabotaged the current deployment and understated the costs of conversion.

        6) The future is very shiny.

        Maybe a bit of all of the above.
        DannyO_0x98
    • sharkboyjohn

      That makes less than no sense. Why go out and repurchase all the hardware, and software? That's if you can replace all the Apps? Also without knowing the cost of these unreleased Tablets, with no solid release date, there is no way to make a value proposition for such a switch.
      Jumpin Jack Flash
  • Windoze 8 = FAIL

    That's the fate of Windoze 8...
    shellcodes_coder
  • FAIL?

    FAIL = First time Apple Is in Loss that is called Windows 8 FAIL
    Sreenidotnet
  • Will schools be tempted to buy tablets to use Windows 8?

    Schools are already tempted if they are holding out until Microsoft Windows 8 is released. I would too if I were them.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Twice the weight of an iPad and ten times as vulnerable to attacks?

    Sure they'll move to Windows 8..NOT.
    Pete&Pete
    • Twice the weight?

      Win8 doesn't weigh anything.
      rtk
      • I beileve the OP is refering to the hardware

        You're not really that dense, are you? I'm seriously hoping you're going for the sarcasm angle on that... :p
        Jumpin Jack Flash
    • No evidence for claims

      Without a Windows 8 tablet on the market, your claim that they will have twice the weight of iPads or other tablets has no proof to back it up.

      As for vulnerability... since Windows 8 hasn't been released yet, its vulnerability is [b]zero[/b]....versus the small [b]but existing[/b] vulnerabilities in iOS.
      spdragoo