What tablet to choose for your kids when talking STEM and why?
Tablets. Since Steve Jobs introduced the 1st tablet in 2011, they just blew our mind ever since. What is that little rectangle? What can we do with it? Will they replace our laptops? These were all the types of questions crossing our mind and myself included.
So years later, a lot changes happened with those electronic rectangles like the smartphone did but to be honest, a lot of things stayed the same in that environment. And specially with computers. But talking tablets for kids and STEM, I want to share my point of view about the pros and cons before buying a tablet for your kids to maybe learn coding, robotics or another discipline.
What are tablets
Usually twice or three times the size of the bigger smartphone you may think about, they come in diverse shapes, brands, sizes. They allow you to do what a computer can do such as slides, text editions, online video conference, code, send an email, install apps and so on. A really nice tool ans light compared to a laptop.
Tablets for your kids and specially used to learn coding, robotics and new discipline
The table may be sometimes useful to use in STEM education or sometimes the only tool (Because some STEM product manufacturers create apps only for tablets and nothing for laptops). They start with a price tag around $40 to reach thousands of dollars ( depending of the performance you want, but I don't talk about thousand dollars tablets in this article).
What do you need to have in mind before buying a tablet for your kids and even yourself
You need to make a decision about that. Your kids more often will ask you to use your computer, specially the little one who never had experience with tech devices. It also mean you may or may not have another computer to give them for their personal use or also may or may not have a tablet.
In this case, we will assume that you do not have a tablet at home. You may have thought about buying one before but have never crossed the line. So that may be it.
But before crossing the line, you may be thinking, I can also used that tablet for work or leisure when the kids are in school or in vacation. That's right, you may want to buy a tablet you will also used for yourself.
Steps to get started
The first thing that comes in mind before buying everything is the cost. As I mentioned, they start at $40.
After that is the quality and performances. Before starting, I want to remind you that this is my own experience with tablets
From my point of views and experience, I avoid brands that I do not know and stay in a certain standard that I know work for me such as: Apple Ipad Air( They are really expensive for what they are but are really ergonomics, fast and you can find tools you may need. You also have Microsoft Surface Go out there ( A bit less expensive with still the same speed and performance. If you are Microsoft person, you may just get right in track when switching from your computer to the tablets and also your kids. And the last one that I like to use are the Samsung galaxy Tab A and LG G Pad.
Usually the tablets that cost $40 are small in size and do not have a processor. To be straight with you, they are like really slow computer you may think about. You may want to consider tablets over $100/$120 a piece.
You may also want to think about the size of the memory. Which allows you to have space to install some apps that the kids can used. A good start may be 32 or 64 Gigabytes. Because you need to remember that the Operating system takes a slice of these 32 Gigabytes but it's a good start.
Read the reviews on specialized website or even the seller's website. That's really helpful
Read the documentation to see if the software you want to installed is compatible or available for the tablets
Check if there is a add-on keyboard (Usually comes with Microsoft Surface tablets) that goes with it. It may be helpful depending of the type of activities you
Check how to Parental control on the tablet to keep an eye on what they are doing, seeing and who can interact with them. I may not be the best to advise you on this one.
You may want to look the weight but that's not the most important aspect
And maybe a couple of things I may have forgotten, you can start with this small list with peace of mind
What to avoid and examples
Do not buy cheap tablet ($40/$50/$60...). I have done that in the past and it did not take to long after starting installing apps on them to start slowing down.
Small size memory storage. I found myself removing apps and files to keep the tablet running with the software I wanted
You may want to think about these low cost amazon tablets. I just do not advise them to you neither. They tend to get slower with time. I'm not too sure about the amazon store app as well if you can find everything you want like the Google app store. I do not have experience with those that are more expensive.
Another thing about cheap tablets is the fact that they may have been in stocks for a long time and they just discount them. So they may have an out of date Operating system (Usually Android). And when buying some STEM devices and robots for your children, they usually come with a app, and the application often run only on the last version of the operating system. My bad!! So you have to return it or have a refund. Another project on itself.
The first this to remember when buying a tablet for you or for your kids is that it's a long term investment. You will keep that tablet for at least 4 or 5 years if you are not this person changing electronic devices every year (So you may not be concerned buy this. If you are, make sure to invest at least $150 on them. Check the reviews, the memory storage and found popular brands (But that's my own experience).
If you think that something is missing or you have your own experience, please comment it below. So it can be helpful to someone else. ;-)
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Classes will be available for free on Saturdays at that same time to introduce your children to STEM in different topics ( Coding, Robotics, 3d modeling, smartphone app creation, electronics..).
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