It used to be a college issue. As parents started packing up their 17 and 18-year-olds for school, there would be a discussion about which computer to buy.
Now, high schools, middle and even some elementary schools are incorporating tablets and laptops into their curriculum.
Many schools will adapt existing systems to their networks or suggest upgraded gear. New and current students should ask before they make any hardware purchases or upgrades.
AN OVERLOAD OF CHOICES
It took the PC 15 years to become a consumer appliance. It took the modern tablet less than three years to accomplish the same.
All computer formats run the Internet and do a good job of communicating. They vary when it comes to school uses. Here are your considerations.
Add mobility to the normal PC applications. High-memory laptops are able to function at the same level as PCs. Can handle multimedia and website design.
Main issues are low battery life and theft potential. A stolen laptop containing your thesis can be a nightmare. Power now is similar to PCs, but laptops are hard to adapt. Many schools recommend laptops to add mobility and save the cost of running multiple systems.
Best for convenient communications and portability, wide range of apps heavy on the consumer side. Data input possible but difficult.
Still primarily a consumer product but evolving fast. Ease of communication, fantastic graphics, instant-on features and extreme portability attract students plus easy networking at Wi-Fi locations, including a lot of schools.
Very good for personal presentations. Remember that tablets star at displaying data and lag behind laptops at inputting data. Battery life can be double that of laptops, making tablets the new road warrior on campus.
PRICE IS NICE
Once you subtract the research and development, tablets are cheap to make. Makers stamp them out in mass with almost no human assembly.
Prices now are high, as companies still are working off the R&D costs. Once that ends, as it did with PCs and LED TVs, prices will fall off the cliff. Tablets some day will cost less than $100.
The downside is a new one — operating cost. Tablets are on a cellphone revenue model if not connected to a wireless network at school.