How to choose a tablet for schoolwork
Considering buying a tablet to help your child with their GCSEs? Here are the questions to ask before buying…
Can they write essays on it?
Choose the right tablet and it can be used like a laptop. Look for tablets that run word processing software and have large enough screens to write properly, and good wireless keyboards available. The iPad Air 2 has the word processor Pages built in and a large 9.7-inch screen. If they’re used to working in Word, download Office for iPad from the App Store.
The LINX 10" tablet has Windows built in, so it runs lots of the apps they'll be used to from a PC, and includes a 12 month subscription to Office 365 so they can use Powerpoint, Word and Excel
If they're used to Android devices, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5" tablet can run a number of great office programs, including Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
Can you use educational apps on it?
There are lots of educational apps designed specifically for use on tablets on the Stores, Many of these are designed to help with studies, including revising for GCSEs, planning an exam calendar or setting up a homework planner.
What about textbooks?
When preparing for exams and doing coursework there’s a lot of reading to be done. You can download digital textbooks to their tablets. Oxford University Press, for example, provides electronic textbooks for AQA GCSE English, Geography, Maths, Languages and Science.
Expect interactive activities, quizzes and study tips to help them prepare for exams.
Is the screen good enough for reading text up-close?
If they’re going to be using digital textbooks you want to be sure they can see what they’re reading clearly. For example, the iPad Air 2 packs 3.1 million pixels into its 9.7-inch Retina display screen. Text will be crisp, clear and sharp, even up close. The LINX packs 150 pixels per inch, and the Galaxy Tab S has 282 pixels per inch so the images will be sharp and detailed.
Is the tablet comfortable to hold for long study sessions?
Proper revision sessions last a while. And if they’re going to be holding the tablet, they’ll want something light and comfortable to hold.
All three of these tablets are small and lightweight, making them easy to hold and work with for long periods of time.
What about music? They always listen to tunes while working
For years academics have debated whether music helps or hinders revision. But either way many teenagers like to revise to their favourite tunes.
There are a huge number of popular apps that will let them listen to their favourite music, ranging from iTunes to Spotify.
Can they chat with friends about group projects?
If they’re working on a group assignment at home they may need to speak to one of their classmates about it. The phone is okay, but video calling lets them actually show the work to their friends and explain issues properly.
They can video call on an iPad using FaceTime – provided their friend also has an iPad, iPhone or Mac. Just find the person they want to speak to in their contacts and tap FaceTime. Other good options include Skype and WhatsApp.
Can it help them with their music studies?
There are lots of music production apps available for use on tablets, depending on what your child's tastes and requirements are. For example, the very popular music production software FL Studio Mobile is available on iOS and Android. Apple tablets also get access to the very popular GarageBand which lets them loop samples to create great music.
Has it got enough memory?
If they’re going to be using the tablet to write essays, record music or video and store their own movies and albums then you’re going to need enough internal memory. iPads start at 16GB and go up to a huge 128GB. The LINX 10" has 32GB storage space, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S has 16GB.
So how much do they need? Roughly speaking, 1GB has enough space for around 12 albums, while a 2-hour movie will need around 3.6GB.
Can you set parental controls?
If you’re worried about what your child can access online, then set up some parental controls. You can change the settings of the device to prevent access to inappropriate websites, music and movies, as well as other content and features. Find out how to set parental controls.