Android and Microsoft best tablets for sharing at schools?

If you are a teacher using a shared set of iPads (or, more to the point, the person who has the job of advocating and troubleshooting such an approach) over a whole school or between some classes, have you asked yourself this question:  How can students share work in a seamless way, then pass on the iPad to another?  Anthony Carabache asked this question here: His answer is – you can’t. So he recommends that if you can’t have an iPad per student, then don’t use iPads in schools. I found his article mentioned in a post by Stephen Downes here: Stephen has decided to go the whole hog and ditch Apple products altogether. A counter argument to Anthony and Stephen can be found in a reply below the post by Stephen Downes.

Anthony’s point is that in order to get most content out of an iPad, students need to sign into iCloud, the email app, or some 3rd party app such as Google Drive, or a network drive. There is no USB drive for students to easily save content to. The next student using the iPad will see the same interface, and potentially the same content, which the previous user saw, unless all the content created has been saved somewhere in the cloud and all the apps used have been signed out by the previous user. Inappropriate photos, tweets, or emails,  for example, could then be spread by the next student if these accounts are still logged in.

There is an alternative to single user iPads: multi user Android and Microsoft tablets. Beware though, not all Android tablets are capable of having multiple user log ins. The Asus Transformer TF101, for example, is only single user. You would also have to check to see how well the data and accounts of a logged out user are protected from snooping on non-iPad devices before deciding to buy them.  Of course if students save their data on a folder on the C drive on a Microsoft PC rather than use the protected user folders, then privacy is non-existent anyway. Is this also possible on Android and Microsoft tablets?

If you are a teacher in a school that has a set of mobile iPads or have to use them in a lab, then you are probably stuck with them. The “privacy when sharing” issue is definitely one that will not disappear soon and has been compounded by the need to use password protected apps or websites to distribute material. Nevertheless, you can still use the power of tablets to create engaging and effective lessons.

A related Edudemic article back in September 2012 by Tom Daccord argued that iPads should only be deployed in a 1-1 scenario, or use BYOD instead. Very interesting to read the comments below it.

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