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New York Educators Get Cross-Platform Tablet Training

NYSCATE, the New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education, will be training teachers on Android- and Windows-based tablets this summer. The 2,000-member association promotes the use of technology in New York classrooms to transform teaching and learning in the state. The latest affiliation teams NYSCATE with Dell, which is supplying the tablets; Microsoft; SkillsTutor; and Google.

The organization already offers several Apple iPad workshops throughout the year, primarily for administrators and special education teachers. Now the workshop calendar will be expanded to add sessions for teachers that initially will outfit participants with either a Dell Inspiron duo, a convertible tablet running Microsoft Windows 7, or a Dell Streak 7, a sub-$200 tablet running Google's Android 2.2 operating system.

The Inspiron duo, priced at about $550, features a flip-hinge design that enables the user to flip from typing on a traditional laptop keyboard to a tablet touch screen format. The Streak 7 appeared in January 2011 and is designed to run on the T-Mobile 4G network. The Android-powered tablet has access to the tens of thousands of apps available in the Android Market.

Separate workshops will be set up to be device-specific. Educators will have the choice of which workshop to sign up for, based on which Dell device they wish to receive and learn on. Participants will keep the tablet after the training is over.

Each device will be loaded with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's SkillsTutor software, online curriculum for the K-12 classroom and adult education. SkillsTutor is delivered online and can be used as a teacher-aided instructional tool or as a one-on-one tutoring resource with minimal guidance. The contents of SkillsTutor include 2,200 basic skill and thinking skill lessons, as well as quizzes and tests in reading, language arts, mathematics, and science.

The goal of the initiative is to bridge the gaps between digital content, technology, and professional development by showing teachers how to engage students through 21st century instructional practices.

"It is important that NYSCATE continues to diversify our professional development offerings to meet the needs of our members. Our organization is committed to assisting our members, regardless of their platform of choice. We have a wonderful relationship with Apple, but as most schools are multi-platform, our support for these platforms must be evident as well," said Amy Perry-DelCorvo, NYSCATE CEO and executive director. "The ability to offer instruction and integration strategies on Google Android and Microsoft Windows platforms is very exciting. Working in conjunction with Dell and SkillsTutor to demonstrate the power of mobile technology in schools is a win-win for everyone, most importantly our members."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.