Apple iPads or Android Tablets? See What More Than 1000 Educators Decided

Since March I have been running this little survey that is a limited comparison between the current preferences between Apple iPads in the classroom or Android Tablets. It obviously doesn’t take into account the other platforms that are on offer such as Windows machines.

There has been a fantastic response with over 1000 responses submitted and counting!

From conversation with colleagues on Twitter it seems that many people are heading towards Apple products due to the maturity of the App store and the sheer range of Apps that is available.

It would seem from these results that most educators are opting for the iPads over tablets running Android operating systems.

If you took a moment to vote I am really grateful – it would also beneficial to all who are interested in investing in iPads for you to leave a comment explaining your current thinking about the two types of devices. Explaining the thinking behind your decision process could really help others in the same situation.

  1. I have bought the top end flyer and enabled the phone functionality. 
    Slap a bluetooth headset in and you have everthing you need. The pen is
    rather handy for taking notes and scribbling on an email or web page. 
    Overall well worth it and highly recommended.

  2. Exactly what I was thinking, the poll question may as well have been “which platform has more apps available?” Would they answer the same after there are a significant amount more apps for Android?

  3. Hello, you fiendish devil! 😀 I suspect you will be back, and I hope you’re hungry! 😀

    My struggling readers are thriving with varying levels of reading apps on my iPad. I’ve never seen problems being overcome so quickly in all my years doing this. I’m 100% fangirl because of this.

    But I do know where you’re coming from. I had to be convinced, and I am. Best of luck! There’s something about the ease of handling the small tablet that little hands love. It’s just a natural fit. iPhones too. And other devices. 

  4. Hi Tom,

    As I commented at the time of the one-question survey, I value this as a conversation starter but have problems with using it to *justify* anything. Even your comment that “many people are heading towards Apple products due to the maturity of the App store and the sheer range of Apps that is available” is not evidenced by this survey.

    I look forward to a follow-up and perhaps involvement in Jocelyn Wishart’s (University of Bristol) upcoming ‘Exemplifying effective mobile learning’ mini-project. Perhaps you could take part? (I can put you in contact if so) 🙂

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 1.0px 72.0px; text-indent: -72.0px; line-height: 15.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}

  5. The upside of these devices is tremendous.   I know our students show great involvement when interacting with the iPad.  I really like the Google Docs integration now with Android as well.   My question is this:  Apple has the iPhone Configuration Utility (Far from perfect – but better then nothing) to help manage the devices and even restore them quickly.  I have yet to see such a package for the Android OS.  Am I missing it or does it not exist yet?

  6. Android apps tend to be free which make them more accessible to teachers and students alike. I have evaluated both iOS and Android. My preference is Android.

  7. I’ll admit to preferring the iPad up front, but am aware that many prefer the supposed openness of Android (time will tell on that one!).
    All I did want to add was that I suspect the desire for things to plug into the device — HDMI, USB, SD cards etc — is missing an important point in that these things will inevitably become redundant in the same way that the Floppy Drive and DVD drive have. When you can connect devices wirelessly (by WiFi and/or Bluetooth) why would you need another port that will admit dust/water/chewing-gum (this is school use we’re talking about)?One of the most cogent arguments I’ve seen in favour of the iPad was not made by a geeky technophile teacher who either loves to tinker (so prefers Android) or doesn’t like to tinker (so prefers iOS), it was made by a 14 year old kid who spoke to the other kids at his school. (http://jpteti.com/post/4072771125/the-ipad-is-99-more-open-than-any-other-computer)
    Highly recommended post because more than anything, it explains why those who go on about how Android/Honeycomb can do X, Y, and Z when you hack A, B, and C will never understand that the ordinary person just doesn’t care. They want something that will allow them to do what they want with the minimum of fuss, and preferably with the minimum of problems. iOS is ‘closed’ (in inverted commas) for a reason. It has enjoyed a dominance that Android is only now beginning to match, but as far as I know, there haven’t been any major examples of Malware on the iOS. Android can’t say the same, and as it reaches critical mass, the problems will just be starting. Before long, Androids in schools will be tied down as much, if not more, than Windows PCs… and surely that defeats the whole purpose of using the devices in the first place!

    Sorry for the ramble… been trying to type this with lots of distractions from family… Is there an App for that! ;0)

  8. I’ll admit to preferring the iPad up front, but am aware that many prefer the supposed openness of Android (time will tell on that one!).
    All I did want to add was that I suspect the desire for things to plug into the device — HDMI, USB, SD cards etc — is missing an important point in that these things will inevitably become redundant in the same way that the Floppy Drive and DVD drive have. When you can connect devices wirelessly (by WiFi and/or Bluetooth) why would you need another port that will admit dust/water/chewing-gum (this is school use we’re talking about)?One of the most cogent arguments I’ve seen in favour of the iPad was not made by a geeky technophile teacher who either loves to tinker (so prefers Android) or doesn’t like to tinker (so prefers iOS), it was made by a 14 year old kid who spoke to the other kids at his school. (http://jpteti.com/post/4072771125/the-ipad-is-99-more-open-than-any-other-computer)
    Highly recommended post because more than anything, it explains why those who go on about how Android/Honeycomb can do X, Y, and Z when you hack A, B, and C will never understand that the ordinary person just doesn’t care. They want something that will allow them to do what they want with the minimum of fuss, and preferably with the minimum of problems. iOS is ‘closed’ (in inverted commas) for a reason. It has enjoyed a dominance that Android is only now beginning to match, but as far as I know, there haven’t been any major examples of Malware on the iOS. Android can’t say the same, and as it reaches critical mass, the problems will just be starting. Before long, Androids in schools will be tied down as much, if not more, than Windows PCs… and surely that defeats the whole purpose of using the devices in the first place!

    Sorry for the ramble… been trying to type this with lots of distractions from family… Is there an App for that! ;0)

  9. Android is a platform for student and teacher innovation without corporate interference. You can put on what you want when you want. The announcements this week regarding future versions of android with USB hosting and the integration with other hardware through arduino and the APK makes it even more exciting–especially for us science teachers!

  10. I would vote to use Apple iPads in the classroom because of their versatility, portability, battery life and the sheer intuitive power and creativity of Apple products. The one, major downside to mention would be the expense in purchasing these tablets.

    Mike Hobbins

  11. Hi Tom,
    Thanks for this interesting survey. I voted Android and I was recently given an ASUS Transformer, which is a fantastic machine. I do believe you can do a lot more with an Android based system and especially with something like the Transformer for mainly three reasons:
    1) You can surf the whole of the internet, including Flash based content and games. And there are a lot of very useful free games and resources online, e.g. this excellent Flash resource on Forces http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/vtc/2010-11/science/science3-forces/eng/startHere.html. Some people argue that with browsers like Puffin you can browse Flash based content, but that is actually meaning only some content still, videos maybe, but not interactive resources like the one above. So in that sense the internet experience you get with an iPad is limited and crippled by a personality clash between two CEOs.
    2) Android systems allow you to organise your resources, files and folders with much greater flexibility and you have several UBS ports and SD card readers that can be used to expand you memory, ect… At least on the ASUS Transformer you have this option!
    3) The Transformer and some others have the docking keyboard that lets you input text from a real keyboard. This has obvious advantages when it comes to working on more text based tasks, like creating a presentation, or writing an essay, etc… as the keyboard doesn’t appear on your screen reducing your view and it is certainly much quicker.

    In addition, I find that the Android Market has a wealth of well developed apps and so far I have downloaded lots of great educational games and activities for my boys and have spent nothing. Also, the Google Docs App is just great and so useful if you use Google Docs in your school.
    The other obvious advantage is that Android Tablets are much cheaper than an iPad (we are talking about 50% or less in some cases). So, to me this rush into buying iPads in schools sounds more like a trend than a careful study of the market and of what’s on offer, as I believe Androids give you more for a fraction of the prize of iPads. But this is just my own opinion!
    Cheers,
    Alessio.

  12. I have trialled both the iPad1 and 2 now and am going to wait for the new Toshiba running Android Honeycomb being released next month. I have been an Android devotee since buying my first Android phone 2 yrs ago. Apps are 90% novelty and I’d much rather a tablet capable of of managing 100% of my workload, with USB, HDMI, SD Card ports and Google integration for gmail, calendar, docs & iSites. I’m hoping that the Toshiba model will replace my notebook whereas from my experience with the iPad it didn’t come close!
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I43F9C

  13. The Android has two major educational benefits, in my view:

    1.) Critical Thinking: It’s easy for students to create their own Android apps, through the Google App Inventor. Great high-level learning opportunities when kids create apps!

    2.) Price: Android can be installed on a range of cheaper devices, such as the Barnes and Noble Nook, which is half the price of an equivalent iPad.

  14. What about the maturity of the Android operating system when compared to iOS? Many people claim that the existing Android 2 OS is essentially a smartphone OS ported on to tablets and we won’t really see the power of Android until version 3.0 (Honeycomb) is widely available. So, as well as the factors mentioned above, which I’d also go along with, my head says the iPad is the way to go at the moment, despite the proprietary nature of the beast.

  15. I believe that finding the platform first and the point second is always going to be detrimental. If a school decides on WHY it is buying a tablet and then assesses the options and discovers only the most expensive option can provide the solution then the money is well spent and will be well used. If, however, the cheaper option will offer what is needed and a little expansion possibility then why go for what can essentially become a brand name purchase? As a non tech example I happily pay top whack for Oakley sunglasses as in my experience and my sensitive eyes they provide me with excellent protection and are money well spent. However I would not buy an Oakley jacket just because it is a cool brand – a cheaper jacket generally is just as useful, well designed and water/snow proof!

    As an example of when buying into the tech before thinking about the need annoys me:

    A headteacher posted on Twitter “Bought an iPad for the school – going to give it to the children to play with and discover how we can use it in school”

    Now that experience for the testers will be great and I have no doubt they will find ways to use it – I use iPads, iPod Touches, DSis, the Wii and PSPs in school. However it upsets me that the purchase and showing off came before the learning experience chronologically!

    Sorry for the rant but I feel very passionately about introducing new tech into schools but see it go wrong all too often – which actually sets the whole Games-Based and Mobile Learning movement backwards in reality in some (luckily only SOME) cases!

  16. Tom, I have one of each (iPad2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab)…as with everything, I have to compare and contrast.

    The number of apps that can be used to support teaching and learning are much more plentiful for the iPad. Add that to the beautiful experience of the iOS, and I am firmly in the iPad camp for use in the schools! I have a support page with links to the apps I tried, success stories from others, tips, tricks, and tutorials, and a bunch more if anyone needs more convincing! http://linkyy.com/ipad/

    And, personally, I have begun to present all my talks, with the embedded videos and all, with the iPad2. There are some things to consider, and I write about those on my blog (http://blog.kathyschrock.net) but, all it all, it is really fun (okay, and a little scary) to carry only the iPad to a keynote talk!

  17. By ‘Apple hardware’ do you mean iPads or all Apple hardware? When it comes to tablets vs. laptops I agree with you that laptops have more to offer at this specific time. However, as you metioned, the space is moving so very fast, that is is so hard to predict what wil be possible in 1 or 2 years. Investing in laptops now, and having to use them for at least 3 or 4 years might mean that next year or the year after you might be hopelessly out-of-date. Technology is changing so rapidly that 4 year investments are hard anyway regardless the brand or type

  18. I still feel uncomfortable about anyone spending public money on Apple hardware in these cash-strapped times (and the same would go for Android tablets too). Until the technology advances and the price drops I feel that traditional laptops/desktops are much more flexible and represent better value for money. This space is moving so fast though I may be coming back in a few months and eating my words!

  19. At this time Apple is far far ahead of Android when it comes available apps, especially education based apps. This is not likely to change soon, as the iPad is currently bt far the most interesting platfrom for developers. Even though Android is growing rapidly, the Apple App store is currently still faster growing when it comes to absolute numbers. Besides the gard facts it is my personal opinion that Apple in general has a far better vision on use of its technology for education.

  20. Another factor to consider in the Education context is that the App store, besides its maturity, screens its apps and so does not allow the free-for-all that we see in the Android market.

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