TUESDAY 12 MAR 2013 11:06 AM


At this week’s SXSWedu conference, News Corp. unveiled a learning-based tablet computer that will be made available to schoolchildren in the US. The Amplify tablet will feature Android-based learning apps. The programme will rely on the Education Department’s ‘Race to the Top’ Programme that is designed to cover the costs of new technology in public schools.

Not to be outdone, Carphone Warehouse in the UK has had a similar plan to disseminate tablet technology to schools across the country. Education secretary Michael Gove okayed the the mobile retailer’s plan to implement the project by the end of 2013.

The chief obstacle facing public schools in providing computers and newer technologies to students is budget. For this reason, a good deal of ICT training comes to secondary school students via after school clubs or activities run by tech companies. ARM Holdings’ partnership with Code Club has extended to over 5,000 schools. Decoded, a tech startup in London also runs supplementary coding courses for students.

“It’s about equipping younger people with the skills they’re going to need for the digital age,” James Lusher, consultant at Fishburn Hedges, says. “Big corporates can have a role in that.”

Teaching with tablets allows for a personalised, interactive 1:1 teacher-student relationship that can enhance communications skills and learning. Carphone Warehouse’s ‘Tablets for Schools’ programme began with a trial at Greenford High School in London and includes partnerships with Microsoft and Android-based tablet makers. It now has a presence in seven schools with expansion plans throughout the year.