Saturday, November 10, 2012

Windows 8 Facilitates Classroom Tablets

Windows 8 written on a chalkboard

In many elementary schools, there is a growing interest in using tablets in addition to, or to replace PCs.  This is very understandable and adding tablets may offer some unique educational capabilities that are very attractive.  Yet, it is still very important to have management, administration, and control over the tablets.  Moving toward individual, unsupervised tablet use may defeat the curriculum goals that are class focused.

Many schools have found that there is a real need for management tools such as Stoneware to insure that students are doing what they should be, in addition to supporting teacher interaction with individuals.  Many school systems have already implemented a solution for classroom management and are having success with it.  This is the key reason I believe that the Windows 8 tablets may represent the best short term option for these school districts.  In this case I’m referring to full Windows 8, as RT versions will require testing.

By staying within the same, known, Windows environment and classroom management tools, during a migration or addition of tablets, the project is simplified.  The truth is that when changes are made to IT infrastructure, whether it’s a school, a business, or any other organization, one of the most important things to remember is that the fewer aspects or elements of the existing solution that are changed, the higher the success rate for the project.  In this way, the major change is limited to the tablet device, and not compounded by adding in a new operating system and classroom management tool.

This makes the migration far easier for teachers and classroom staff.  There is no disruption to the lesson plans and the need for sending staff to training for new IT teaching tools is mitigated as well.  When tablets are added during the school year, using Windows 8 tablets to minimize disruption may be the most important part of the plan.

It’s also worth noting that many of the other procedures that are used for technology in the classroom, such as security, asset tagging, system updates, and other tasks are also consistent across both the Windows PC and tablet.  This makes life far easier for the IT staff that is charged with overall management of the K-12 IT infrastructure.

Staying with the smallest number of key IT platforms is a known best practice.  Already major enterprises have been reducing the number of key IT platforms and vendors they use to drive efficiency.  The same fact set makes platform reduction attractive to the K-12 environment.  Windows 8 tablets are a great way to simplify technology while bringing in the latest form factors.

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