We often get asked about what are the best devices to use in the classroom for the Number.fy app. There are two main choices:
1. Smartphones: we initially developed the app for low cost Android smartphones that could be used, in bulk, within schools. Besides the low cost, smartphones have one other big benefit... they are small! Which makes them perfect for small hands. For children aged 7 and below we strongly recommend the use of a smartphone because they are devices children are familiar with and can easily handle. The main design specification is for screens with a resolution of 800x480.... this gives an aspect ratio of 1.66 which is very common. For example the ZTE Blade 3 (sold by Virgin at £60) offers low cost and an excellent feature set. Number.fy also works well at the lower resolution 480x320 which is found on a large number of phones. In addition to smartphones, there is also the Kurio 4S (currently £60) which is an Android device in a smartphone form factor but with no mobile phone connectivity (just wifi) - this is potentially an excellent option and low cost.
2. Tablets: many schools are interested in purchasing tablets as they potentially have a wider range of applications within school. We strongly recommend 7" tablets as they offer a good screen size, lower cost, increased durability and are better ergonomically. This is currently a very competitive market and there are a number of devices that are suitable. These include the Tesco Hudl (£120), HP Slate 7 (£100), Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci (£30), Google Nexus 7 (£199) and Acer MemoPad 7 (£130).
Our recommendation would be to opt for a Kurio 4S (or other smartphone) for children under age 8 where you want to focus upon daily use in an ease to grip form factor. Age 8 and above can easily handle a 7" tablet and these make good general purpose computing devices. The HP Slate is a little old now, but works very well and is low cost and well made. The Tesco Hudl is a better quality device and very well priced. We haven't tested the Datawind Ubislate but it is extremely low cost and has a specification that is suitable for a range of educational applications including Numbmer.fy. The Google Nexus 7 is the best quality tablet listed here and one of the best currently available but at a higher price.
As a final note it is worth stressing that with *any* IT purchase there will be a cycle of defective/broken devices each year. Our recommendation would be to plan on 10% allowing you to build in some reserves for devices and their support. If you purchase a class-set of Apple iPad minis (£319) then you need to factor an annual cost of ~£1000. For a fairly standard Android device this will be closer to £300 - ultimately any educational purchase must provide a return on investment through demonstrable impact. At Flurrish we can demonstrate dramatic improvements in numeracy - we'll be blogging on this very shortly!