Tablets have found kids.
As a market.
Great toys, educational games, entertainment etc. Bells and whistles galore. That’s fantastic: technology is an asset and they aren’t really that expensive anymore either, let’s enjoy and encourage!

Schools have opted for tablets, but usually as an addition to already existing technology applications. Upmarket schools that have had a computer lab for many years and made computer literacy paramount, are adding tablets as just another facet, using them in all learning areas.

What if you have to choose?
What if the school is starting out on this technology-education-highway?
Should they leapfrog straight to tablets? In other words, are tablets replacing PC’s in the wider sense and should they skip that step in the evolution?

Schools essentially should be preparing leaners for when they leave school, so make them job ready, preferably with a well-rounded education under their belt.
They eternal question is just what should they know and be able to do?
Let’s simplify that for the moment to job-readiness. And then think about comparing PC’s with tablets for a school that is buying into technology education for the first time.

Questions that come to mind are:

  1. Which is more expensive: 20 PC’s in a room with network + internet access or 20 tablets with internet facility that can be taken anywhere. If one considers the added costs of security and furniture in that computer room, the tablets win.
  2. Which will get lost / damaged more easily? The PC’s win.
  3. Can tablets run the common office applications that are necessary to function in an office? The answer is yes, although slightly different, but they are getting more powerful.
  4. Most office environments rely on PC’s, so can the learner who only knows tablets, adjust easily to a PC? The answer is yes, although adjustments are required.
  5. Are you buying for now or for the future?
  6. Can you really buy for the future?
  7. If we are going mobile, shouldn’t we look at cell phones? But cell phones can’t do what PC’s can, or can they?
  8. What are your goals in the computer lessons? Do kids need computer lessons at all? Or just the application of technology in learning about the world?
  9. Is this for primary or for high schools?
  10. What can we learn from the experience of others, also in other countries? Computer Labs / Education- Technology Poor Rural

Which other issues should we consider when making such an important decision? What do you think?