Chequamegon School District's BYOD policy makes it easy to shop for your student this year for Christmas.  Under BYOD or Bring Your Own Device to school, what ever choice you make for a device for your student it will be allowed in school.  Here are some handy tips and choice recommendations for this years holiday shopping for a digital device for your student.

Tablets are all the rage this year with prices lower than ever.  The iPad is the top selling tablet with the new 9.7" retina display 4th generation iPad starting at $499 for the 16G WiFi only model.  For some this is a hefty price to pay so best to get the generation 2 iPad at $399.  It has all the same basic features as the generation 4 iPad but without the retina display and a little slower processor. Then there is the iPad mini with a 7.9" display, smaller than the larger unit but basically the same as the generation 2 iPad in specs with a price starting at $329.  While the Apple iOS has not changed much in the past couple of years, expect your new iPad to be compatible with the next release of iOS 7  predicted to be a major shift in its graphical user interface design to keep pace with features found on Android devices.

If you are looking to get a great tablet but do not want to pay the premium price of an iPad then check out the Google Nexus 7 at play.google.com.  The Nexus 7 has tremendous reviews and is only $199 in price for the $16G WiFi model.  Your student can use the Nexus 7 to do research with Google's new voice search connected to knowledge based search engines as well as voice dictate a document directly into a Google doc even while off line.  Google is making tremendous strides in voice technology and the Nexus 7 is the only purely Google Android OS other than the Nexus 10.   Speaking of the Nexus 10, here is another purely Android OS device with all the latest features Google Android has to offer.  The Nexus 10 is a larger tablet like the iPad with on-screen keyboard that uses swipe technology which is a rapid input typing method unique to Android devices.  The Nexus 10 could be used in place of a laptop with its integration with Google Apps and voice dictation capabilities.

If you are looking for a laptop for your student, there are many to choose from but at this time I DO NOT recommend anything using Windows 8.  Windows 8 needs another year to be refined and for more software programs and apps to be developed.  Since tablets are out selling laptops by more that 2 million units per month, there are a plethora of Windows 7 laptops to choose from that are going to be dumped on the market in time for Christmas to make way for new Windows 8 touch laptops.  These Windows 7 laptops will be cheep.  Again I do not recommend the Windows 8 devices at this time.  
For a premium laptop the Apple Macbook Air is the best choice.  Ultra thin and light, 100% solid-state (no moving parts), runs all day on a battery charge and with the newest Mac OS it is super easy and slick to use.  The next Mac OSX update is expected to have Siri and an improved voice dictation built in.  Typical starting price for the Air Book is $1,199. 
 
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, if you are looking for a cheap alternative laptop or a second computer for around the house you cannot beat the Google Chromebook.  Starting at $199 on the Google play store it is hard to beat the price.  The Chromebook is a cloud-based laptop that all the students are using at school.  Works with their Google accounts and stores all their data in the cloud.   I recommend the Samsung model on the Google Play store for $249.  The Samsung model Chromebook is 100% solid state (no moving parts, just like the Mac Book Air), boots up in 10 seconds and runs all day on a battery charge.  This is a great device for doing research on the web and for document production.  I use a Chromebook every single day for reading, document creation, updating my websites and more.  Did I mention it plays videos and music as well?

If you are considering a smart phone for your student I recommend the iPhone or the Nexus 4.  You can find the iPhone at Apple.com and the Nexus 4 at play.google.com.  Both are terrific phones and your choice is dependent on just a few simple things:  if you already have an investment in iTunes music or videos or Apps then you choose the iPhone, if you are new to smart phones and want to try something very different then choose the Nexus 4.  You will not go wrong with either choice and both will work just fine at school.

What ever you choose your student can be using a device of his or her choice at school and at home with their own personalized device.  Your student will be happier using their own device and could ultimately be more productive,
 
 
Here are several links to articles about technology in the classrooms.

  • National Education Technology Plan 2010  --- Education is the key to America's economic growth and prosperity and to our ability to compete in the global economy. It is the path to good jobs and higher earning power for Americans. It is necessary for our democracy to work. It fosters the cross-border, cross-cultural collaboration required to solve the most challenging problems of our time.
  • The NMC Horizon Report > 2011 K-12 Edition HTML5 Flipbook Version  --- The Horizon Project, as the centerpiece of NMC's Emerging Technologies Initiative, charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning and creative inquiry and produces the NMC’s series of Horizon Reports.
  • Many U.S. schools adding iPads, trimming textbooks  ---  The primary reason that technology is not currently 100% infused into teaching and learning is due to the lack of electronic textbooks.  Going to digital text books is truly the only way to move forward with technology as a tool available for every teacher and every student.  I see the physical text book as the actual anchor that is keeping us back.  Remove that anchor and we will go 100% technology based for all instruction.
  • In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores  --- A little different perspective on technology centric classrooms. This article just proves that the measurement methods are all designed around legacy print media methods of teaching and learning and that new ways of measuring student successes are needed. 
 
 
If you are printing from your iPad using AirPrint you will need to know the username and password.
Airprint User Name and Password
Glidden Campus:
Username: print
Password: print

Park Falls Campus:
Username: airprint
Password: airprint