Should every classroom be equipped with tablets?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| August 1, 2011

Tablets are a love-hate technology with most consumers. The blown-up smartphones offer a larger display but little extra functionality over your run-of-the-mill smartphone. Regardless, many have taken to the large slabs and have harnessed their power. Somehow, those seemingly pointless tabs have been turned into vital business tools and a staple in the mobile realm.

The usefulness of tablets stretches far beyond the business sector. T-Mobile and Los Angeles Angels have teamed up and attempted to offer an extended coverage service at home Angels game by leasing tablets to baseball fans for the length of the game. It may be a silly idea, but it's affordable and some people may love the idea. Others use their tablets for recipe guides while cooking, Netflix on the go, games and just about anything else you can think of where a smartphone would work but – with a tiny display – it may be more trouble than it's worth.

One area where tablets truly excel though is education and school. Being a college student, I know this firsthand. I purchase the eBook or PDF versions of my textbooks. Not only does this save me hundreds of dollars on my books each semester, but I only have to carry one, light device rather than four or five clunky textbooks. I can easily take notes and sync them to the cloud for use with my computer or (if the professor allows) record a lecture for playback.

All things considered, a college classroom is hardly the only place tablets can be of use to students. In many of the grade schools that I know of, the students are stuck using old, slow desktop PCs from roughly six or seven years ago. Laptops are available to students, but like the available desktop PCs, they are old, slow and in need of an overhaul. Tablets offer more portability, more personalized and abundant software and various levels of hardware.

Your average tablet would hardly survive throughout a day in an elementary classroom environment. Never fear, though. Dana Wollman of Engadget reported earlier this morning that Rullingnet's Vinci tablet now up for pre-order on Amazon. The Vinci is a 7-inch, ruggedized tablet, offered for a rather affordable price. There are two variants, one is offered for $389, the other will set you back $479. The only difference in the two is battery life (three hours on the cheaper version, six on the more expensive) and the amount of educational software.

The Vinci tablets are fitted with educational software and no wireless connectivity (no Wi-Fi), directed towards children three and younger. So offering these exact tablets to students K-12 isn't exactly ideal. But that's how Rullingnet's tablet shows off the beauty of a tablet over a PC. The customizability of tablets means that there could be a modified tablet for each and every grade level and each different subject of study.

Seeing as mobile platforms are rapidly growing in importance and abundance, it only makes sense to introduce young kids to them at an early stage. What say you, folks? Should every classroom be equipped with personalized tablets? Or do PCs simply fit the bill more appropriately?

Image via Vinci