It has been but a few hours since ripping open the Google Nexus tablet and
- It is fast, light, and intuitive.
- The touch interface is responsive and smooth.
- The resolution and performance are exceptional.
- And yes, the 7 inch screen provides a great experience, brings an impressive phone-like mobility, and offers great comfort in multiple positions.
So the question is what about education.
iPad versus Nexus
This is obviously the question many are asking because the iPad is the de facto choice for many schools. And the reality is that the hardware, specs, and price make the Nexus a viable, perhaps the better, option if only looking from that perspective.
But it is more complex than this if we believe a device choice is more than hardware and specs. And we know it is more complex than this even if it is merely a device choice because many schools see Apple as more viable as an educational partnership.
So the more focused question is Apple education focus and Google education focus. While the Google Apps for Education suite shows a tremendous commitment to education, Google’s education focus with the Nexus and the ecosystem wrapped around it is nowhere near Apple’s heavy education focus with the iPad and the ecosystem wrapped around it.
And even though it is early and Apple wasn’t there when the iPad 1 launched, Google doesn’t have the luxury of time to decide if the Nexus is something they want to push into the education market. Google either does or doesn’t. The time is now.
If Google does, they need to begin wrapping their ecosystem around this device:
- Education focus in the Play store
- iBook-esq opportunities to make textbooks feasible on the device (edit: for clarity, I mentioned iBooks simply as an example of textbooks on a tablet. I don’t want the iBook world but a feasible way to utilize publisher textbooks on the Nexus even though my stance remains on textbooks)
- Google+ for K-12 given how integrated Plus is on the device
- OpenClass integration on the device and continued progress with the platform
- Google Apps for Education fully integrated with full creation, collaboration, and connection functionality – an unmatched suite!
- Management console integration of tablet — this enterprise level move would showcase the serious focus on education
- Developer and internal push to create educational and education useful Android apps that promote creation, active consumption, and innovation on this device.
- Google Play Books that is built for active reading, sharing, and Google Apps for Education integration.
And if Google does this or at least provides a committed roadmap to schools that shows their educational direction for learning, the partnership with schools would grow exponentially. Simply put, it would have far greater potential for learning than anything out there at least from a secondary and perhaps middle school level.
The potential is there with this device. While not without flaws, it is exceptional! The question now is whether Google will put a focus on education, learning, and teaching with this device and their ecosystem.
But then again…
I could bundle a Samsung 5 Chromebook (350)and a Nexus 7 8GB (200) for the price of an iPad 3 (500 plus keyboard). Now that is something for schools to think about when talking about the device(s) that meet the vision for learning and teaching. Yep… I love that idea and the possibilities.
Image: Jelly Beans!, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from goobi’s photostream