Do we want our kids learning with "information appliances," or with the robust, flexible and powerful tools that are available? That is the question, or at least that's the question posed by Brainchild with their new Android-based table PC, the kineo.
According to Dennis Pierce of eSchool News, "Perhaps best of all for educators, the Kineo enables school leaders to specify the applications that students can use on the device by “locking down” apps they don’t want students to use." And from the same article: "“A teacher can have full confidence that when her students are working on Kineos, they are on task and won’t get into trouble,” said Brainchild President Jeff Cameron...."
Well, yes, perhaps. But this is really a question that's begging for research. Do appliance-style learning devices (such as the Kineo) deliver better results in classrooms than more flexible, consumer-oriented products (e.g., iPAD)? Under what conditions--in terms of teachers' capacities, classroom management models, curriculum constraints? And what competencies?
Here's a student quoted in the same article:
“The Kineo … is like a portable textbook with study guides, calculators, [and] movies that is handy and portable, that you can pretty much bring anywhere instead of using textbooks and big bulky computers,” said a student at Manatee Middle School. “I have a lot of trouble in math, and this device is just so helpful with that, because it has study guides and it lets me just practice all the things that I need.”
However, as Claudia L'amoreaux sez in an email about this bit of sophistry, "it's the learning-not-texting mentality....uh guys, anything that motivates kids to write thousands of messages a day can pro'ly be used for 'learning.'"
Well, BC has posted a bunch of research, but AFAIK it's comparing nuts to bacon--"conventional math instruction" with instruction augmented by BC software and tools. I dunno if this solves anything in relation to purchasing decisions, except, again, to purchase (something) or not to purchase (something).