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First Chrome tablet for ed

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Acer has announced its Chromebook Tab 10 that runs the Chrome OS and is designed to be used in classrooms and other education purposes.

“The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 combines advances in hardware and application support to enable more meaningful learning for an even wider range of students,” said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business at Acer. “The new Acer Chromebook Tab 10 encourages students to discover new ways of understanding the world around them.”

Students Can Do More with QXGA Display, Portable Design

Students can see their classwork and apps in stunning clarity and bright color on the 9.7-inch QXGA IPS touch display. Providing 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch, the display offers students incredibly clear perspectives on the topics they are studying. The slim size and portable design enables the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 to be moved around the classroom and taken to even more places for continuous learning. This means a wider range of students, including younger ones with smaller hands, can handle the device and engage with the intuitive touch display as they navigate, zoom, and spin through their lessons.

In addition, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 fully supports Google Play, so teachers and students will have access to millions of Android apps to let them collaborate, discover, be engaged and learn.

The compact size ensures that the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 easily fits in a backpack or desk, and the unique cobalt blue color makes it stand out so it’s easy to find. The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 weighs only 550 grams and measures just 172.2 (W) x 238.2 (D) x 9.98 (H) mm.

Features Make the Most of Chrome OS

Students can use the front 2MP HD webcam and dual accompanying speakers and microphone for chats over Google Hangouts.  The rear 5MP camera enables students to capture video and images.

To give students additional ways to interact with the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the device comes standard with a Wacom EMR stylus. Students can precisely work with interactive apps, sketch, take notes and capture ideas that can be shared with classmates and teachers. The Wacom EMR stylus is embedded in the chassis dock for secure storage. Plus, it doesn’t require a battery and is resistant to accidental drops.

In addition, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 provides long battery life of up to 9 hours – enough for 1:1 programs where students use them throughout their school day, as well as at home for projects. Schools with dedicated labs and wireless carts can use the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 over several days of classroom time.

Easy to Manage and Keep Secure

IT administrators can manage the new Acer Chromebook Tab 10 as easily as any of the other Chrome OS-based devices on their campus. They can make updates, configure apps, as well as manage extensions and policies with the Chrome Education license.

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 can be shared throughout the school site and in labs since Chrome OS supports multiple user sign-in, giving students quick access to their information, apps, projects, Gmail and more when they log onto their unique account. Even if a device is lost, stolen or damaged, students won’t lose their information. Storage on Google Drive protects files, documents and photos safely in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version is always available. Plus, Chrome OS is automatically updated and guards students against ever-changing online threats, such as viruses and malware.

Solid Performance and Ports

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 responds quickly and can run multiple apps at once, as it’s powered by OP1 Processor that integrates dual-core Cortex A72 and quad-core Cortex-A53 processors. Also, it includes 4GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board storage. Students will stay connected to their school’s network with fast and reliable 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity and can connect to displays and other devices via Bluetooth 4.1.

The new Acer Chromebook Tab 10 includes a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 port, which can be used to charge the device as well as other products, transfer data quickly up to 5Gbps, and connect to an HD display. It also features combo headphone/speaker jack and a MicroSD card reader.

Planned Support for Augmented Reality

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 will support Augmented Reality in the future to allow students to experience new ways of learning with Expeditions AR. Expeditions AR is Google’s AR technology that maps the classroom and places 3D objects in it for students to study, making subjects such as biology, geography and astronomy easier to comprehend.

Price and Availability

The new Acer Chromebook Tab 10 (D651N) will be available to education and commercial customers in South Africa in May with prices starting at R4 999.00

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Samsung clears the table with new monitor

For those who like minimalism and tidy desks, Samsung’s new Space Monitor may just do the trick, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The latest trends of narrow-bezels and minimalist designs have transcended smartphones, spilling into other designs, like laptops and monitors. 

The new Space Monitor line by Samsung follows in this new design “tradition”. The company has moved the monitor off the desk – by clipping it onto the edge of the desk.

It can be put into three configurations: completely upright, where it sits a bit high but completely off the desk; half-way to the desk, where it is a bit lower to put some papers or files underneath the display; and flat on the desk, where it is at its lowest.

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The monitor sits on a weighted hinge at the edge of the desk, providing sturdy adjustment to its various height configurations. It also swivels on a hinge at the point where the arm connects to the display. This provides precise viewing angle adjustment, which is great for showing something on screen to someone who is standing.

Apart from form factor, there are some neat goodies packed into the box. It comes with a two-pin power adapter, with no adapter box on the midpoint between the plug and the monitor, and a single cable that carries HDMI-Y and power to prevent tangling. 

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However, it’s slightly disappointing that there isn’t a Mini Display Port and power cable “in one cable” option for Mac and newer graphics card users, who will have to run two cables down the back of the screen. Even worse, the display doesn’t have a USB Type-C display input; a missed opportunity to connect a Samsung device to the panel.

A redeeming point is the stunning, Samsung-quality panel, which features a 4K UHD resolution. The colours are sharp and the viewing angles are good. However, this display is missing something: Pantone or Adobe RGB colour certification, as well as IPS technology. 

The display’s response rate comes in at 4ms, slightly below average for displays in this price range. 

These negatives aside, this display has a very specific purpose. It’s for those who want to create desk space in a few seconds, while not having to rearrange the room. 

Final verdict: This display is not for gamers nor for graphic designers. It is for those who need big displays but frequently need to clear their desks.

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Can mobile fix education?

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By Ernst Wittmann, global account director for MEA and country manager for Southern Africa, at TCL Communications

Mobile technology has transformed the way we live and work, and it can be expected to rapidly change the ways in which children learn as smartphones and tablets become more widely accepted at primary and high schools. By putting a powerful computer in every learner’s schoolbag or pocket, smartphones could play an important role in improving educational outcomes in a country where so many schools are under-resourced.

Here are some ways that mobile technology will reshape education in the years to come:

Organisation and productivity

For many adults, the real benefit of a smartphone comes from simple applications like messaging, calendaring and email. The same goes for schoolchildren, many of whom will get the most value from basic apps like sending a WhatApp message to friends to check on the homework for the day, keeping track of their extramural calendar, or photographing the teacher’s notes from the blackboard or whiteboard. One study of young people’s mobile phone use in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa confirmed that many of them got the most value from using their phones to complete mundane tasks.

Interactivity

One of the major benefits smartphones can bring to the classroom is boosting learners’ engagement with educational materials through rich media and interactivity. For example, apps like Mathletics use gamification to get children excited about doing mathematics—they turn learning into a game, with rewards for practicing and hitting milestones. Or teachers can set up a simple poll using an app like Poll Everywhere to ask the children in a class what they think about a character’s motivation in their English set-work book.

Personalisation

Mobile technology opens the doors to more personalised and flexible ways to teach and learn, making more space for children to work in their own style and at their own pace. Not very child learns in the same way or excels at the same tasks and subjects – the benefit of mobile phones is that they can plug the gaps for children seeking extra enrichment or those that need some additional help with classroom work.

For example, teachers can provide recommended educational materials for children who are racing in ahead of their peers in some of their subjects. Or they can suggest relevant games for children who learn better through practical application of ideas than by listening to a teacher and taking notes. 

In future, we can expect to see teachers, perhaps aided by algorithms and artificial intelligence, make use of analytics to track how students engage with educational content on their mobile devices and use these insights to create more powerful learning experiences. 

Access

South Africa has a shortage of teachers in key subjects such as mathematics and science, which disproportionately affects learners in poor and rural areas. According to a statement in 2017 from the Department of Basic Education, it has more than 5,000 underqualified or unqualified teachers working around the country. Though technology cannot substitute for a qualified teacher, it can supplement human teaching in remote or poor areas where teachers are not available or not qualified to teach certain subjects. Video learning and videoconferencing sessions offer the next best thing where a math or physical science teacher is not physically present in the classroom.

Information

Knowledge is power and the Internet is the world’s biggest repository of knowledge. Schoolchildren can access information and expertise about every subject under the sun from their smartphones – whether they are reading the news on a portal, watching documentaries on YouTube, downloading electronic books, using apps to improve their language skills, or simply Googling facts and figures for a school project.

Take a mobile-first approach

Technology has a powerful role to play in the South African school of the future, but there are some key success factors schools must bear in mind as they bring mobile devices into the classroom:

  • Use appropriate technology—in South Africa, that means taking a mobile-first approach and using the smartphones many children already know and use.
  • Thinking about challenges such as security – put in place the cyber and physical security needed to keep phones and data safe and secure.
  • Ensuring teachers and children alike are trained to make the most of the tech – teachers need to take an active role in curating content and guiding schoolchildren’s use of their devices. To get that right, they will need training and access to reliable tech support.

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