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iPad challenged in K-12 by ... Sony?

by David Needle

February 4 2013

It seems like every week we’re hearing about another school launching an iPad deployment or enhancing an existing problem.

There are competitors. Microsoft Windows PCs have a strong presence in schools and the software giant hopes it Windows 8 tablets will catch on in the education sector. But no single tablet vendor outside of Apple has made a big splash in K-12.

But the reason there are so many iPad announcements is that most schools haven’t fully integrated iPads, or any other tablet, into their tech infrastructure. In other words, it’s far from game over when it comes to tablets in education, particularly when you consider the budget constraints most schools face.

Enter consumer giant Sony which just announced a new K-12 Education Initiative it says will help help schools easily integrate devices into the classroom so teachers and administrators can more easily take advantage of what tablets and mobile technologies have to offer for education. The program includes access to tablets and other devices at discount prices as well as additional services and support.

Sony’s Xperia Tablet S, an Android 4 device with a 9.4-inch high def screen, is central to the program. Advantages include a “guest mode” that allows teachers to restrict or grant access to specific apps; it comes with a full-sized SD card slot for memory expansion and file transfers. Educators using Xperia tablets will also receive 50 GB of cloud storage via Box.com.

The program is also supported by what Sony says is a real-time, online community that will update resources via a network of distinguished educators; software to manage and protect devices and information, user training and programs designed for specific districts and schools.

"As an educator, Sony's K-12 Initiative was particularly compelling to me because it looks beyond just providing schools with devices," said Tim Wilhelmus , a Sony Education Ambassador and an innovation, curriculum and technology specialist at Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.

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