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Teaching with Tech

How to choose the best tablet for your students

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a shift to digital learning. Now, many teachers and students are back in the classroom, but the days of focusing on in-person learning alone are gone. The current and future state of education is all about building a hybrid instructional model, augmenting the physical classroom with digital learning tools.

However, even though teachers and students have dipped their toes into the waters of virtual learning, many schools are still facing a dilemma. They know they need to provide a device for every student, but they aren’t sure which form-factor and model are best.

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Chromebooks are a popular choice for older learners, but many districts are choosing tablets for younger elementary school students. With touchscreens and an intuitive user experience, tablets do a great job of engaging younger students. And a tablet can be paired with a keyboard and mouse if the student needs a more traditional laptop-style setup.

What to look for in a tablet

Tablets aren’t all alike. Here are a few features to consider if you’re searching for the best tablets for remote education:

  • Screen size: Tablets come in a variety of screen sizes, from as small as 7 inches up to 12 inches or more. If the tablet will be used for detailed visual work or together with a keyboard, a screen size of 10 inches or larger might be a better choice.
  • Memory/storage: More memory (or RAM) will support multitasking and keep apps from running slowly. If students are going to be working across several apps or windows, look for a tablet with at least 4GB of RAM. More storage will also ensure students don’t run out of space if downloading large apps or taking photos or video for multimedia projects.
  • Digital pen or stylus: Depending on your students’ needs, a digital pen can help create a more engaging, natural learning experience.
  • Wi-Fi or LTE: Some tablets depend on Wi-Fi, while others can connect to cellular networks (once you add a SIM card and carrier plan). If you have students who do not have reliable Wi-Fi at home, providing tablets with connectivity to LTE can be a good solution.
  • Battery life: Students learning entirely from home spend a lot of time on their devices. Look for a tablet that offers extended battery life to minimize remote learning interruptions.
  • Compatibility with apps and learning platforms: Tablets that link easily with popular remote learning tools, such as Google Classroom, are a smart choice for schools.
  • Security: Data security is a key issue for remote learning, so make sure you choose a tablet model with built-in security that integrates with leading mobile device management (MDM) tools.

Samsung offers a broad portfolio of Android tablets, from entry-level devices suitable for younger learners to powerful tablets that let learners multitask much like a high-end laptop. Here’s a closer look at Samsung’s lineup of Galaxy tablets perfect for remote learning:

Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7-inch tablet

Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7 is an excellent device for supporting digital learning in the classroom, whether students are physically in the room or virtually attending. It comes with a sharp 8.7-inch display, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory, which can be expanded with a microSD card. It also comes with a 2MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera, making it perfect for virtual interactions.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

Galaxy Tab A7 10.4

With a 10.4-inch display, the Galaxy Tab A7 10.4 gives students an immersive visual experience for remote learning. This tablet also provides up to 14 hours of battery life per charge, 3GB of RAM, and a choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal memory (which can be expanded via microSD). For videoconferencing and assignments that include taking photos or videos, the Galaxy Tab A7 10.4 comes with a 5MP front-facing camera and an 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Galaxy Tab S5e 10.5

With a thinner and lighter frame, the Galaxy Tab S5e provides students with a versatile workstation, as it includes DeX, Samsung’s platform that enables the tablet to deliver a full desktop computing experience. Students can use DeX by connecting to the optional book cover keyboard, creating a laptop-like experience. Alternatively, they can connect to a monitor, external keyboard and mouse, powering a full desktop. DeX works with just about any monitor or TV with an HDMI port using a USB-C adapter.

The Galaxy Tab S5e also offers an exceptional visual experience, with a corner-to-corner 10.5-inch screen. This tablet is available as Wi-Fi-only, and the battery life for the Galaxy Tab S5e is up to 14.5 hours on a single charge. It comes equipped with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM. All these features make it a great choice for middle- and high-school students who are completing advanced assignments and multitasking across multiple windows and apps.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Tab S6 Lite

With a large 10.4-inch display and digital S Pen, the Tab S6 Lite provides students with the option to sketch and take notes by hand, rather than using a mouse and keyboard. This also makes the Tab S6 Lite a good fit for teachers who prefer to grade assignments and annotate documents by hand. It includes premium surround sound, up to 13 hours of battery life and either 64GB or 128GB of built-in memory, with the potential of 512GB by adding a micro SD card.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

Tab S7 and S7+

The new Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ have even larger displays (11 inches on the S7; 12.4 inches on the S7+) and also include the S Pen. Ergonomic bookcover keyboards are available for both models. They also have additional computing power, with models ranging from 128GB storage/6GB RAM up to 256GB storage/8GB RAM. The versatility, size and power of these tablets make them more than viable as alternatives to laptops for older students and teachers.

Each of Samsung’s tablets features Samsung Knox, a robust security platform, and are compatible with Knox Manage and other leading MDM solutions.

No matter what your remote learning needs are, there’s a tablet that can meet them. Samsung understands the challenges schools face as they build hybrid classrooms and will work with you to find a solution that fits the needs of your district, your ed tech budget and your students.

Get your free guide to securing funding for your remote learning initiative. Then, read these seven tips for teachers working in a remote learning environment.

Posts By

Jessica Leigh Brown

Jessica Leigh Brown is a freelance writer and former high school English teacher who covers the intersection of technology and education. Over the past decade, her work has appeared in EdSurge Higher Ed, Education Dive, EdTech Magazine, University Business, and District Administration.

View more posts by Jessica Leigh Brown