ADHS recommends Chromebooks as the device students bring to school. The advantages offered by these:
Low price (generally around $350)
Ease of use
Secure for one user or many
We're using them too!
ADHS has purchased a large number of chromebooks and have built the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) platform to ensure student access.
All devices need to be able to have a chrome browser or drive web apps installed. The Chrome browser can be downloaded and installed free from the Internet.
These devices listed below have full support for the Google Apps environment. They will be able to access the internet, email and be able to create and share Google documents at school with no additional cost beyond the purchase of the device.
Windows based PCs/Laptops are the most common computing device that students will encounter. They offer the greatest flexibility, but are relatively bulky, expensive and may require software to be purchased before they can be fully functional. They also require anti-virus and security software. Expert knowledge may be needed to configure the device and correct any faults. Modern laptop battery performance is highly variable - ADHS recommends laptops with at least 5 - 6 hours of battery life for daily usage.
Recommended specifications - Anything released in the last 5 years.
Apple computers are similar to Windows PCs in most respects, with the same advantages and disadvantages. (See above) At present, Macs do not suffer from virus threats to the same extent that Windows based computers do. However, expert knowledge may be needed to configure the device and correct any faults. Macbook battery performance is usually good enough for a whole day.
Recommended specifications - Any Intel-processor based mac computer.
Windows based netbooks offer the flexibility of a PC, but with greater portability, at the cost of slower performance. Most netbooks offer excellent battery performance. These are highly suitable for most classroom tasks. However, expert knowledge may be needed to configure the device and correct any faults.
Recommended Specifications - Any current model Windows 7 based netbook.Older netbooks (more than two years) may have performance issues - check with ADHS before purchasing a preowned netbook. ADHS does not recommend netbooks that do not have a Windows operating system.
Not to be confused with Windows 8 RT, these are essentially full Windows laptops in a tablet form. They can run the same software that your home PC can. They enjoy the same benefits and limitations as a PC, but with the advantage of the extra portability and convenience of a tablet. Given the similarity in branding between Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT, please double check with the re-seller before purchasing.
Chrome browser is required. A keyboard or keyboard case is recommended.
iPads offer all the computer capabilities of a full computer in a highly portable and highly secure device. Apps for iPads are usually very cheap and can offer similar features to full programs on PC and Mac computers. Set up and operation is usually very simple. They are expensive and comparatively fragile, so a protective case is highly recommended.
Models that run the current opportunity system are suitable. Chrome browser and Drive apps are required. A keyboard is recommended with the iPad mini.
Android based tablets are very similar to iPads in terms of software and portability, however their performance varies considerably. Set up and operation is usually very simple.
Models that run the current operating system are suitable. Performance will vary depending on processor power. Chrome browser and Drive apps are required. A keyboard is recommended for any tablet 7" or smaller.
The following devices offer some functionality that will be useful in a classroom environment, but may have some limitations that make them less suitable than the devices listed previously.
iPhone/iPod Touch and Android smartphones:
These devices can theoretically do everything that iPads running the same software can do, however their small size is a major limiting factor on their usability.
These tablets use a 'cut down' version of Windows that is not directly compatible with Windows PC software. In terms of features and performance versus price, they compare quite favourably to Android and iOS. Office is pre-installed, but all other software is downloaded in app form much like Android and iOS, so you may need to purchase some programs twice and some programs may not have an RT equivalent. A number of students have successfully been using these at ADHS with GAFE, but we're still investigating to see if there are any incompatibilities.
Chrome browser is required. A keyboard or keyboard case is recommend.
The following devices have theoretical compatibility with our network and GAFE, but have not been tested or have limited support from Google, and as such are not recommended by ADHS for BYOD.
Light Clients and Linux PCs/Laptops:
Most Linux-based OSs have Chrome compatibility. Performance will vary depending on processor power. Chrome browser is prefered when available.
Windows Mobile Smartphones:
Inconsistent access and functionality within the GAFE environment. Screen size is a major limiting factor for producing work.