Whether it is a one to one, bank/s or BYOD, South African schools have embraced mobile device technology with enthusiasm. As with the implementation of all technology, it has been a learning curve for those who have had the courage and vision to travel this journey. We now know what we need for a mobile device learning solution to work optimally.
We are at a place where we can reflect on the impact of mobile devices and drill deeper to assess if the learning has indeed been worthwhile and authentic. Are the devices being used for access to interactive apps to play games or are they being used to design, collaborate and create?
We are also able to compare different devices in terms of cost, functionality and robustness, battery life and device management capability.
Some schools have chosen to go with expensive devices which work exceptionally well - only to find that it becomes very costly to purchase other accessories - MDM (Mobile Device Management) tool/ devices etc as the number of devices increases. Other schools have opted for the cheaper devices and come "unstuck" with wi fi, functionality or compatibility issues. Schools who have gone the BYOD route have embarked on an interesting and sometimes challenging journey - particularly if the school has not prescribed what type of device can be used.
Having worked in a BYOD primary school, it is interesting to note that children are more comfortable working with a laptop as opposed to a tablet in a project based learning environment where a significant amount of authoring is required.
As Windows mobile devices (tablets and tablet - laptops) are becoming more affordable, it makes sense for schools to opt for this user friendly platform - it is the most widely used platform in business.
Devices are like shoes - they need to be functional and comfortable and above all suit the needs of the wearer (or user).
There is no such thing as one size fits all ... '
Education Consultant - EDU365 South Africa