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Nexus 10 Android Tablet Review for School Libraries November 8, 2013

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Reviews, Tablets & Apps.
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nexus 10The Google Nexus 10 tablet is arguably one of the best large-size Android tablets on the market currently, but is it ready for the demands of a public elementary school library serving 500+ students?  Here are 5 reasons why I think the Android Nexus 10 tablet is a solid choice for elementary school library use:

1. The price – As of this blog post, the oldest model available from Apple is the iPad 2, and they cost $399 and come with only 16 GB of hard drive space.  The new iPad Air tablet is $499, again with 16 GB.  Nexus 10 tablets have double the space (32 GB) for the same price as the iPad 2.  There are rumors that there will be a 2nd generation model of the Nexus 10 released soon, and that usually means lower prices on the older models.  My guess is that price is the main reason most folks go Android, but there are other good ones too.  Like…

2. Syncing mobile bookmarks with Chrome! –  My school library website is a LibGuide, which can also be used like an app on mobile devices.  Once the LibGuide is bookmarked on a tablet’s browser, the bookmark can be added to the homescreen to make it look like an app with a click-able icon.  World Book Online‘s mobile site, our library’s Capstone Interactive eBooks access, and Mrs. Lodge’s excellent Shelve-it Game are also wonderful mobile websites that can be added as “apps” on library tablets.

I bookmark these websites on 1 tablet in Chrome, and then I can sync the bookmarks across all the devices registered to that Google account.  Once they are synced, I just add them to the homescreen and voilà!  Instant apps!  I may be wrong, but according to our tech department, syncing bookmarks isn’t possible across Apple devices, which makes pushing out a LibGuides library app rather unfeasible.

nexus10

Elementary school library Nexus 10 homescreen with some mobile bookmarks as “apps” alongside Google Play apps

3. The Google Play app store, is growing. –  While there are still some great apps that are exclusive to iPad and on my Android App Christmas Wish List, many of the most useful apps to school libraries are available on both Android and Apple.  For information literacy instruction, I don’t really need really fancy media-heavy apps.  These are the apps on our school library tablets now:

4. Near Field Communication or NFC or Android Beam – This is that nifty, cool trick you see in the Samsung smartphone commercials.  Two devices are held next to each other and *boop!* you can share almost anything: Photos, videos, online content, etc.  NFC works on any NFC-enabled device, not just Nexus tablets, so students who bring their own devices with NFC can also share across platforms.  I’ve read that AirDrop on the new iPad Air does about the same thing, but again the price tag is much steeper.

5. Android is open source. – Admittedly, being open source has led to plenty of sub-par tablets and a fragmented market of Android software versions.  But as librarians, we share many of the values of open source code: openness, innovation, and transparency.  Apple is a walled garden, and they have a history of banning apps for little or no reason.  Google policies have plenty of privacy concerns, of course, but given the choice between Apple and Google, I’ll take the lesser of two evils.

Overall, I think school librarians should do their own research and read reviews on both Apple and Android tablets with the same careful eye as we review resources for our libraries.   With that said, though, I love our Nexus tablets, and I think it was money well-spent to purchase them for students to use.  I think the Nexus 10’s are a good choice, but not as good as the Nexus 7 tablets for a school library.

Next up…the Nexus 7 Review.

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Comments

1. Nexus 7 Android Tablet Review for School Libraries | A Wrinkle in Tech - November 29, 2013

[…] Nexus 7 tablet is the Android tablet schools have been waiting for.  Plain and simple.  I like the Nexus 10 tablets for their screen real estate and larger hard drive for media storage, but the Nexus 7′s are, […]

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2. Kathy Kuhn - December 4, 2013

I am very grateful to have found your blog, because I am a first year librarian and am very interested in purchasing a number of tablets for our library, but face the same dilemma you have been discussing. I have a question for you though ~ what is your opinion of the Nook HD+ ? I have already purchased 4 of these, and so far they have been very good, but I am reluctant to proceed because no one else seems interested in them. What I DO like is that they can very easily be password protected, so students cannot go on the web unless I allow it (right now they are out on library tables with educational games and sample books – and the kids LOVE THEM). Also, each Nook can have 5 separate “profiles” so I could set them up for different grade levels. Can you tell me some negatives? Thanks for your thoughtful articles!!

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Collette J. - December 4, 2013

I don’t have any experience with the Nook HD+ devices, but I do have an older model Nook Color and 20 Nook ereaders. Unfortunately, I’m regretting going with Barnes and Noble, because I think as a company they are in deep trouble. Their financial reports have been dismal for about a year, and they don’t seem to be making the necessary changes to keep up in a digital world. For that reason, my very personal opinion is that I can’t recommend a B&N device for schools at this time. (Check out The Digital Reader blog on the Blogroll for more info on that issue.) With that said though, it’s possible that another company might buy the Nook side of B&N and make it profitable again. Of course, that’s completely conjecture, but anything can happen. Right now, I don’t think committing to a B&N device is sustainable.
You’re right about the “profiles” being nice, though. I haven’t tested it myself, but I think the Nexus 10’s can have several profiles too, and I think so can the Nexus 7’s. Not positive, but I’m still learning more about the new KitKat operating system. I’ve also been looking for a parental-control type app that at least locks down the Play Store and Settings. The rest of it, I don’t mind the students having access to. Our district set up a separate heavily-filtered Guest network that anyone can use without a password…that has alleviated much of my concerns about students going online without direct supervision. They can’t get to much that’s inappropriate or controversial via the Guest network. At the end of the day, though, how students are using the tablets is a matter of classroom management and students knowing the expectations for tablet use. We want them to build self-regulating behaviors, and that means teaching students to use technology wisely and appropriately in school, including choosing their own appropriate content. I hope that helps you a bit as you start up your tablets, and I wish you luck!

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