Let’s talk about Tablet PC’s and the Courier

I was in my office configuring a Dell XT Tablet for one of the Math educators at the school last week and had a thought. What is the future of Tablet PC's in education? I've had many people visit the school and discuss their 1:1 laptop programs, their success their failures and everything in between. I've had discussion about everything from battery charging to leasing options and one thing is for certain, sustaining a laptop program is another challenge in the list of challenges that public education faces. Matter of fact, in private schools and charters someone still needs to purchase, replace and maintain laptops and even if you're purchasing a $350 netbook for a small school of 400 we're talking about $140,000 to start.

Money aside, the benefits of using tablets in the classroom are numerous. I asked a few of the learners that used the tablets this past year to provide me with some feedback:

·       Lighter than many other Laptops

·       Pen tool (Easier use of paint and Journal)

·       Charger is smaller

·       Makes the use of computers so much more fun

·       Eliminates paper use

·       Supplies extra USB ports

·       Touch screen

"Also I think that the computers are a better way to do group things people can take turns writing things if you have to draw up a group project. Also if you have to show someone your computer it is much easier to turn your computer around and show them. "  

So having had many conversations with the kids about what they want out of their technology I started thinking about what the future of Tablets would be and of course I've been keeping tabs on the emergence of an alleged Microsoft device called the Courier. I cannot confirm or deny its existence, I can only speculate like the rest of you about whether a device like this will emerge from Microsoft. If you're not familar with the Courier, do a search and you'll find a handful of people that say it will never see the light of day and others who have said they've seen and know that it will emerge later this year.

Will we see the Courier? I don't know, I do know that a device like this would have many applicable uses in a classroom for both college bound kids or K-12 educators. Think of the amount of paper that is used in schools for miscellaneous things like note taking, scrap paper, or class notes. A device that can address multiple scenarios like that will definitley have an impact, and the only thing left to figure out would be pricing.



Comments (3)

  1. jaduff says:

    As a high school network administrator, budget manager, technician, etc. etc. this thing looks great!

    I love the idea of a technological device that maintains the use of a pen (are we heading towards a generation that can’t write?) but allows access to rich media and interactive learning tools.

    Our school is moving towards a laptop for every student, with the obvious problems of cost! Please Microsoft, if (as has been implied) you don’t know where to market this device, choose the education industry! If the Courier can be sold at something like half the price of a laptop, it would be invaluable in schools!

  2. Professor Um says:

    I have waited impatiently for the Apple tablet for 3 years and the iPad is greatly disappointing. I used the Palm OS for years as I could write and scribble while listening in meetings but the screen was small and the CPU was weak. MotionComputing got it right with the adaptation of the Mac Air with a touchscreen but the price was too high.

    I am a college professor of technology and I want the Microsoft Tablet to run Windows 7 so my students can write in their native character-based languages (Chinese, Farsi, etc.) using a pen, draw pictures,  speak to their computers, listen to their computers speak, and translate text between languages without having to use the keyboard.

    I dreamed of a Microsoft Slate with children all over the world writing on tablets much as they did 100 hundred years ago but also being able to use Web 2.0 simultaneously. It is still only a dream.

  3. Student and Mother says:

    As a mother of 3 and a returning college student, I find this technology would be a great asset to schools from elementary to college. If the public school system were to implement this technology into our schools and eliminate the need for textbooks, paper and such I would definitely be willing to jump on board and purchase one for each of my children. This will not only help save the trees but also help save children from putting all that weight on their backs.

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