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From online security to technical support, there are many factors to consider with tablet-based learning. Here we focus on the challenge of multiple tablet charging and storage.
Tablet use is soaring in UK schools. A report published last year by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) predicted that by 2020, 40 per cent of "ICT learning time" would be catered for by educational apps, with 1.8 million tablets in use throughout England's schools. Ever since Apple launched the iPad® in 2010, the tablet market has been growing with new names, screen sizes and ever more choices for schools. Whichever tablet solution you choose, a class full of tablet users means a whole lot of charging! So how do you avoid the muddle of tangled cables, tottering iPads and a ballooning electricity bill?
There are plenty of standalone multicharging units out there which do a fine job of charging and syncing multiple tablets, but they have some fundamental limitations when it comes to storage and portability. For a typical school environment you should really be looking at a more complete solution such as a charging case or a charging trolley. Not only will these let you charge and sync your tablets more easily, they will also provide you with a very convenient way to store your multiple tablets and transport them between classrooms. If you deal with multiple tablets on a fairly regular basis, the advantages of being able to store them tidily and access them easily cannot be overstated.
The best learning outcomes are always achieved by treating tablets as tools rather than ends in themselves. The three giants of the sector - Apple, Google and Microsoft - offer dedicated support for education, making their products attractive choices for any school.
Some useful links are:
Currently in British schools, the Apple iPad and Google Nexus are proving to be two of the most popular choices with an abundance of educational apps available for each. Other devices such as the Microsoft Surface, Sony Xperia, Samsung Galaxy series and Lenovo Think Pad are also being adopted by schools and there are now budget brands from the likes of Tesco snapping at their heels.
To read our guide to iPad deployment in schools, click here.
So which should you choose? Trolley or case? This really depends on your needs.
If you expect tablet use to take place primarily in school grounds, it's worth considering a trolley. Tablet trolleys - effectively, wheeled cabinets - are designed for everyday use, transporting multiple tablets from room to room. They are also convenient for overnight storage and will generally house a greater number of tablets than a case. Read more about trolleys...
If there is a chance that you might need to take the tablets with you on field trips or you would like something more compact than a trolley, a sturdy waterproof charging case might be more suitable. Cases generally have a lower tablet capacity - typically holding 8 to 16 tablets - but they more than make up for that by offering superior protection and portability. Cases are still suitable for indoor use of course and, if space is limited, may benefit from being more compact than a trolley. Read more about cases...