“We strive to use technology innovatively as we educate a new generation of learners,” said Coahulla Creek principal Phillip Brown. “Precision was able to provide an affordable solution to help us move forward with digital textbooks and on-line learning environments.”
Students will keep the 7-inch, handheld tablets all school year and are able to take them home. The computers run the popular Android software and provide full web browser access and e-reader apps such as Kindle and Nook.
“The thousands of Android apps available for smart phones also run on the Android tablets,”
commented Jarrett Volzer, President of Precision.
Literally thousands of apps, including educational tools such as dictionaries, homework planners, word processors, and tutorials, are available for free or at a low cost.
“I began investigating tablets when we were developing the plan to use all digital textbooks,” Brown explained. “PC tablets move us beyond reading and into actual, practical classroom use for activities, programs, tutorials, and presentations that will help teachers in countless ways.”
Brown said that his faculty is compiling a directory of apps they will use at the school.
Brown began his search for a hand-held technology solution by investigating Apple iPads. Though an attractive option, the $500 price tag for an iPad put it far out of the district’s price range. Smaller devices powered by Google’s Android operating system were more affordable but still quite expensive.
Brown consulted with Volzer, who negotiated with tablet manufacturers to produce a capable tablet device within the school’s budget.
“In the world of Android tablets,” Volzer remarked, “a number of inexpensive devices have become available. However, extensive product testing revealed significant disadvantages across-the-board.”
Volzer explained that slow processors, poor screens, and short battery life made these devices unacceptable.
Volzer’s goal was to find an affordable device that would process quickly, have a long battery life, and utilize a multi-touch capacitive screen, which is the same type that the iPad, iPod, and most smart phones use.
The tablets were customized to the school’s specifications, complete with pre-loaded apps and the school’s identification on the start-up screen. Additionally, Precision arranged to have custom-made cases produced for the tablets that include a slot for students to place their student ID card, making it easier to keep track of which tablet was assigned to each student. “It’s this type of customization and service that we offer that sets our solution apart from others,” Volzer said.
“Our vision,” Volzer explained, “is to use our bulk-purchasing power and manufacturer relationships to offer this same customized, low-cost, high-specification solution to other districts throughout the state and beyond.” His experience with Coahulla Creek puts him in a unique place to serve other school systems. Precision has already sold a smaller set of tablets to Murray County school system in Chatsworth.
“We are also investigating 10-inch devices,” Volzer said. “And we see great possibilities for education with the upcoming release of Android 4.0.”
Precision Computer Service is a technology consulting and repair company that has been based in Calhoun, Georgia for 16 years. Their offices are located at 517 Oothcalooga Street across from the City Auditorium.