LearnPad Classroom Tablet Solution Simplifies Teaching and Empowers 21st Century Learning

Featured Partner*: The LearnPad tablet system helps address many of the difficulties educators face when introducing computers into their classrooms by providing content development and lesson-planning tools, enhanced teacher control portals, and reliable training support.

LearnPad empowers students to learn at their own pace.

Teaching is difficult. Teaching multiple students with different levels of knowledge and different learning capabilities is one of the greatest challenges today’s educators face at all levels – from K-12 through college.

The LearnPad makes teaching easier while taking the stress out of introducing tablet computers into 21st-century classrooms. LearnPad has taken a bold step with a computer tablet designed specifically for education while helping teachers meet the challenge of differentiated instruction.

The LearnPad is a full-featured Android-based tablet that functions as a standalone learning station for students. It stands out from the myriad selection of competing tablet computers because each LearnPad is designed to operate within a fully integrated system that gives teachers and schools control over the content displayed on every tablet in their classrooms while empowering students to learn at their own pace.

Best of all? Teachers who adopt the LearnPad education solution into their classrooms receive complete hands-on training and ongoing support.

Wondering how LearnPad can enhance your school’s classroom? Our overview can help answer your questions:

Supervision and control

Problem: Individual computers are difficult to monitor in a large classroom setting
Solution: LearnPad’s system ensures all students in a single classroom are “on the same page”

The promise of today’s technology is daunting and cumbersome for many educators. Rather than freeing them up to improve learning, multiple hardware and software platforms, and tens of millions of website choices place teachers in the unwelcome position of supervising students’ browsing habits and tending to technical issues that are beyond the realm of even the most tech-savvy instructors.

Some educators have expressed concerns about using computers to teach lessons in their classrooms because it’s difficult to monitor content. Whether it’s a handful of kids sitting around a table or 30 students seated in rows, allowing them to use personal computers willy-nilly can make the teacher’s job more difficult.

LearnPad takes the anxiety out of cloud-based learning because it is designed as a complete system to ensure that all students in a single classroom are “on the same page.”

“Differentiation is easy using the LearnPad. Since students work at their own pace, I am freed up to help those students who need my help.” — Sherri Schwabenlender

All LearnPads use the Android operating system. Far from being a one-lesson-fits-all approach, LearnPad enables teachers to customize content for individual students, so each learner can proceed at his or her own pace.

Sherri Schwabenlender, a fifth-grade teacher from Cedar Grove-Belgium school district in Wisconsin, reports: “Differentiation is easy using the LearnPad. Since students work at their own pace, I am freed up to help those students who need my help. I know that I’m not rushing the slower students who need more time, and I’m not holding back any of my advanced students.”

Cloud-based portal helps teachers guide students

Here are some additional highlights of the supervision-and-control features that support LearnPad’s purpose-built tablet system:

  • The three-component solution includes the LearnPad tablet, a cloud-based management portal, and a dedicated content store.
  • Each tablet is Web-ready with dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth capability.
  • Every LearnPad tablet is “out-of-the-box” ready for use in schools and classrooms anywhere.
  • A cloud-based portal features built-in dashboard tabs that allow instructors to plan and organize lessons, activities, and assessments that fit each student’s learning level, pace, and progress.
  • The LearnPad system enables teachers to tailor their customized learning activities for the entire class, groups, or individual students to complete.
  • Teachers can determine student access to safe websites and manage them through the LearnPad portal.
  • A step-by-step process allows teachers and lesson planners to select only the resources they approve and place them in a dialogue box clearly delineated for each student in their classrooms.

Customized content

Problem: The promise of individualized learning through computers has gone largely unfulfilled
Solution: LearnPad’s system helps teachers tailor content for students to learn at their own pace

LearnPad's customized content

One of the many benefits of today’s technology is the ability to follow current news online, learn interesting facts from well-established sites like Wikipedia and Ask.com, and share information from the web almost instantaneously with peers.

With LearnPad’s personalized content and curriculum-integration capabilities, teachers can create differentiated instruction activities, lessons, and assessments through ClassCloud, a secure storage system for content. LearnPad’s cloud-based portal allows teachers to personalize activities and lessons, which can be organized for the entire class, targeted toward subgroups, or customized for individual students.

“The teacher has complete control over the device, allowing them to modify their instruction for individual student learning needs.” — Dawn Brown

For example, a K-12 or middle-school teacher who is avidly following NASA’s exciting Mars Curiosity mission might want to incorporate the latest news into an impromptu lesson for students. Perhaps the teacher is inspired — after reading about the rover vehicle’s arrival near the base of Mount Sharp at the center of Gale Crater — to create a bonus assignment for students who finish their work early. With LearnPad, the teacher can quickly create an activity for students who finish a related science activity to read an online article about the latest Mars Curiosity accomplishment.

With LearnPad’s content-integration system, the teacher can create and then incorporate the activity into the day’s lessons, give it a title — say, “The Real Fun Begins on Mars” — and instruct any student who finishes early to write a short summary of the news article for bonus points.

Dawn Brown, instructional technology specialist for Federal Way Public Schools in Washington state, says: “The LearnPad is a powerful device for teachers and students not only because it allows for easy access of electronic learning applications and resources, but is also easily customizable. The teacher has complete control over the device, allowing them to modify their instruction for individual student learning needs.”

Dashboard tools put teachers in the driver’s seat

Here are some additional highlights of the customized content features that support LearnPad’s purpose-built tablet system:

  • InClass gives students access to the password-protected LearnPad cloud-based portal.
  • Video tutorials on lesson planning – produced specifically for teachers – are available at the LearnPad support services website.
  • ClassConnect, a password-protected portal, gives teachers clear how-to instructions on creating a LearnPad lesson, along with sample lessons to help them understand and master the system.
  • LearnPad supports a wide range of curriculum resources, including software apps, videos, music downloads, and Flash-based educational content.
  • Existing resources are supported, so teachers can access their text files, spreadsheets, and slide presentations and use content they’ve already created to build new lessons and assign engaging activities.
  • Icon-driven categories make it easy for lesson planners to select and upload approved resources, including website links, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, software apps, eBook content, videos, and music files.

Personalized learning

Problem: The growing trend of differentiated instruction is a major challenge for today’s schools
Solution: LearnPad’s system is designed for personalized lesson planning and learning activities

LearnPad's personalized learning
LearnPad is designed for personalized lesson planning and learning activities.

Today’s educators are well aware of the growing demand to incorporate personal computing into their classrooms. However, many educational leaders, administrators, and teachers who want to utilize technology in schools are frustrated because they recognize the complexity of integrating computers with lesson planning and teaching — and especially testing requirements — in today’s classrooms. Consequently, many teachers are torn between combining traditional methods — such as lectures, chalkboard instruction, and audio/video presentations — with computers.

Simply put, computers can distract students unless school leaders, teachers, and administrators implement clear supervision guidelines. Computers can interfere with classroom instruction and inhibit learning if students view them as game-playing devices that help them get out of learning instead of enhancing it.

The LearnPad is designed as a tool to facilitate teaching. The cloud-based content management portal helps teachers tailor their lessons and activities to fit the needs of individual students and to help keep them focused on learning:

  • ClassConnect assists teachers in uploading files, images, and other content for lesson planning.
  • ClassCloud helps teachers store and curate their content and distribute it to individual folders on each student’s LearnPad. Using the dashboard to manage the content, teachers can select files from their own resource folders and send them to each student’s device.
  • InClass allows students to log in to any available LearnPad and access their own personalized learning network, complete with differentiated assignments from their teacher. To access their coursework, activities, lessons, quizzes, and other customized assignments, students simply tap the designated icon, enter their user name and password, and start learning.

Planning and scanning

One innovative feature of the LearnPad system is the ability to scan QR (Quick Response) code materials and incorporate teacher-designated content into lesson plans, activities, and assessments.

  • QR codes are increasingly used to access Web pages, images, PDFs, and other documents without having to type in URLs. QR codes are particularly useful for smart phones, tablets, and other mobile-computing devices that don’t have external keyboards. The square, black-and-white barcodes found inside contemporary books and on some product packaging are scanned using one of the LearnPad’s dual cameras. A corresponding web page is launched and displays the relevant content.
  • Image annotation allows lesson planners and teachers to upload QR codes into their files. This feature makes it easy to incorporate multiple images into a single lesson, activity, or presentation on one page. QRs also help students learn how to use today’s technology while simultaneously mastering the subjects that matter to teachers and parents – such as math, science, history, geography, and language arts.

Utilities give teachers creative latitude to plan lessons

Here are some additional highlights of the personalized instruction features that support LearnPad’s purpose-built tablet system:

  • Resources include more than 1,000 classroom lessons, categories, and apps from the content store, many of which are free to the LearnPad community.
  • Student tools allow lesson planners and teachers to create folders for access to files, photo galleries, Web links, and other resources; these folders can be personalized for each student.
  • Utilities allow teachers to access, add, edit, and replace content stored in student folders.
  • InClass allows students to log in to a LearnPad and access the personalized network folders created by the teacher or lesson planner.
  • Collage creation allows teachers to combine images that help students conceptualize ideas, particularly kids at the pre-K through fourth-grade levels.
  • Mind mapping tool helps teachers create graphics to visually illustrate groups, hierarchies, and other concepts that can be incorporated into lessons and activities.
  • Photo editor allows teachers to insert images and then crop, adjust, and enhance them before incorporating photos into their content.
  • Student assessment tool gives teachers the ability to create customized quizzes, set time limits, generate automated correct response alerts, and track and record results.
  • Animation tool makes it simple for teachers to incorporate animated images into their activities and lessons as a story-telling device for history, science, language arts, math activities, etc.
  • Early childhood starter incorporates artwork, stories, phonics and writing, numbers and shapes, and games into lessons and activities.
  • Lesson profile leverages early childhood apps and Web-based resources to help pre-K, kindergarten and other teachers create age-appropriate content.
  • Elementary and secondary starter tools emulate many of the enhancements found in the early childhood starter and incorporate them with higher-grade-level concepts for music, art, and design; mathematics; language arts; science; and computing.

Training and support

Problem: Most classroom computer configurations are cumbersome “do-it-yourself” hassles
Solution: LearnPad’s system is a turnkey solution with live training sessions and follow-up tech support

LearnPad's training and support
Training and support enables teachers to maximize the LearnPad system.

Teachers with concerns about their own learning curve for today’s technologies will find the comprehensive training program reassuring. LearnPad’s instructional coaching is modeled after standard professional development programs. The end goal ensures that participants are completely up to speed on the LearnPad system after they’ve completed training.

The program kicks off with a welcome call with administrators, including school leaders, teachers, curriculum developers, etc. That’s followed by an orientation webinar to ensure all LearnPads at the facility are connected and integrated seamlessly from the get-go. The orientation webinar is a one-hour tutorial that explores the ClassConnect portal and covers the basics of building a lesson, using the administrators’ dashboard, and locating support materials. Several self-paced pre-training videos help teachers become familiar with the LearnPad tablets and portal.

The training videos cover:

  • Introduction to LearnPad: general overview of hardware and system
  • ClassConnect Terms & Features: LearnPad lingo and concepts, with in-depth review of ClassConnect portal
  • Building Lessons: reviews the components of assembling lessons, including establishing categories and maximizing resources
  • Deploying Lessons: how to transfer lessons from the content portal to tablets; understanding QR keys and how to use them
  • ClassCloud Dashboard: in-depth tutorial of the system, including managing tablets, monitoring content usage and classroom participation, and generally understanding ClassCloud structure
  • What Do These Buttons Do? explains device buttons and how they work with the Android system and LearnPad interface

Administrators receive two days of personalized on-site training. These sessions encompass coaching and observation to ensure that administrators (teachers, curriculum developers, lesson planners, etc.) are experts in the LearnPad educational system upon completion of training.

During the training sessions, participants will receive an overview of the dashboard. They will build a lesson; add resources; specify content for privileged access; tag content for easy search; embed YouTube videos and add content to lessons; insert images and change icons in lessons; add categories and new lessons; and “put it all together” through flipped classroom drills that include six mini-courses of five-seven minutes each.

With assistance from instructors, who work shoulder-to-shoulder with participants to master the program, teachers will become experts in the LearnPad system – from “soup to nuts.”

On Day Two of the on-site training, teachers will learn to fully integrate all of LearnPad’s features. With assistance from instructors, who work shoulder-to-shoulder with participants to master the program, teachers will become experts in the LearnPad system – from “soup to nuts.”

In addition to the initial on-site training, LearnPad coaches provide three follow-up training visits during the first semester. LearnPad Partners – a certified network of authorized dealers – help support schools, administrators, and teachers at local and regional levels.

The hands-on training – which costs $3,900 for 25 teachers – includes a teacher lifeline that gives administrators access to follow-up support via phone or email with personalized service. (For a pricing quote on smaller groups or individual training, see LearnPad instructional coaching.)

On-site instruction and online tutorials support teachers

Here are some additional highlights of the training features that support LearnPad’s purpose-built tablet system:

  • Tutorial videos produced specifically to assist teachers and lesson planners with creating and deploying LearnPad lessons.
  • LearnPad portal offers sample lessons for history, earth and space, health, computing and storytelling that demonstrate how to create standards-aligned lessons with subject-appropriate resources.
  • Getting started with LearnPad includes instructional video links that cover Wi-Fi and QR Keys, along with six modules in the online tutorial series, and safe and secure Web browsing – “whitelisting.”
  • Technical support articles written specifically for LearnPad tablets that cover version release information; setup and getting started; managing content and resources; tips and tricks; troubleshooting; available accessories; bandwidth requirements, and a technical FAQ.

LearnPad product specifications

  • Full-color multi-touch screen: Octavo: 7.85-inch; Quarto: 9.7-inch
  • Processor: 1.5GHz quad core
  • RAM: 1GB with 15GB storage
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Cameras: Front and rear
  • External ports: USB, SD, and HDMI
  • Keyboard: Optional (visit LearnPad Accessories for pricing)
  • Operating system: Android Jellybean
  • Kingsoft Office: Loaded on every LearnPad to facilitate compatibility with Word, PowerPoint and Excel files, enabling teachers and students to open Microsoft files on their LearnPads in the corresponding format.
  • Apple compatible: LearnPad for iPad is an iOS app available for teachers and administrators who already have iPads in their schools but want the benefits of using the LearnPad teaching solution.
  • Pricing: LearnPad Octavo ($239.95/standalone); Quarto ($329.95/standalone or $359.95/student-ready bundle)

Contact information

Web: Visit the site
Phone: 800-624-2926
Email: Contact page

*LearnPad is a sponsored partner of the HotChalk Education Network. HotChalk’s editorial staff published this article in collaboration with the LearnPad team.

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