Last spring, my school district finalized plans for Wifi in all the buildings, paving the way for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) at school. One of the other teachers and I were discussing it, and she said, "I guess I am going to have to get myself an iPad so I know what I am doing when the kids ask me to show them stuff on their iPads."
Hmmmmm. I had never thought of that. I mean, I like my iMac and all things Apple, but my found-in-a-trash-can 40GB iPod is 10 years old and I don't even own a smartphone, let alone an iPad. What to do, what to do...?
I started by talking to a friend who owned an iPad. She said she liked it but hardly used it. She used her laptop much more than her iPad. Good to know. I also borrowed an iPad and tried to access all the math websites I would want for my students. At the time, the Apple OS and Flash Player were not playing nicely together so I couldn't play the math games on sites like hoodamath or mathplayground. That was troublesome because I sometimes assign internet homework to my students and I wanted them to have access to everything.
I then researched all the tablets that were available at the time and came to the conclusion that I just couldn't spend the money on an iPad. (Knowing me, if I got one, I would want the highest speed, most memory, all the bells and whistles. Cha-Ching!) Also, if it couldn't run Flash sites, then it was not worth it.
My next two options were the Kindle and the Nook. These both might be known primarily as e-readers, but they have grown up to be so much more. Besides, I like reading and I figured it might be nice to have many books at my fingertips instead of the stacks on my nightstand that sometimes tip over and land on the floor or the dog or my foot.
In researching the two e-reader/tablet options, I finally settled on the Nook Tablet*. Here's why:
1) Support. I can walk into any Barnes & Noble store and there are real live people there who can help me with questions about my Nook.
2) Design. I like the look of the Nook and the fact that there is a volume button on the case. You can quickly turn the volume up or down during any Nook activity without having to exit an app to find the volume control. Not so with the Kindle. (This comes in handy if you have your Bible on your tablet and an email alert comes in the middle of church when you have forgotten to turn down your volume. Not that that has ever happened to me.)
3) Security. The Nook has a small corner cut-out on the lower left corner. There is room to thread a cable lock through the cut-out for times when you want to cable your device to your bag, your desk, your body... I have not had to use it yet, but I can see that there may be times when people would find it a practical feature- especially in a dorm setting.
4) Compatibility. Kiddo has the Nook Simple Touch e-reader and we can now loan books to each other.
After using the Nook for 6 months, I still like it as both an e-reader and a tablet computer. Sometimes it gets finicky and won't load a website, but overall I think I made a good purchase. I don't feel like I have to rush out and get the latest and greatest HD version because this one meets my needs. I can recommend it to my students who want a device for school, and for those kids who have no internet at home, I can recommend it as an inexpensive way to get connected. They can go to any Starbucks, McDonalds or Barnes & Noble and get free WiFi so they don't even need a connection at home. They can even sit outside our building during Christmas Break and access the district's Wifi if they are so inclined. They can do that with any tablet, laptop computer, or smartphone. Very cool.
*Barnes & Noble didn't pay me to write this. They don't even know I have a blog.