Your software considerations will obviously be partly dictated by the platform (or operating system) your chosen device operates under.
The more traditional software used on computers, be it a Desktop, Laptop or Netbook, was generally referred to as a Programme, whereas software run on tablets is referred to as ‘App’ (application) although it seems that the App is fast replacing the Programme as the term used across all device types. There are a number of key differences between ‘Programmes’ and ‘Apps’:
- Programmes can be purchased in retail stores or downloaded
- Programmes can often be purchased with single, multiple or site licences
- Programmes tend to be very expensive (although can be cheaper with licences and educational discounts)
- Apps can generally only be downloaded
- Apps are generally for single user only (although this is starting to change)
- Apps tend to be very cheap
The term ‘App’ is becoming more generic and even starting to replace the more traditional ‘programme’ but this is more about marketing than defining the difference between the two. What is more significantly happening is that Apps are being developed in all the different formats, rather than being specific, for example, to just the iPad etc. What this means is that you are likely to have more flexibility in your device choice even if you have specific software that you want to use. This does not mean that less care is needed at the very beginning and spending time looking at schools already running successful programmes and seeing what they do and how they do it is invaluable.
You should also look seriously at any assistive technology needs, some devices offer much more flexibility than others in this area and it is important where at all possible to ensure that the same device is issued for every child. You can go to this page to find out more about ‘assistive technology‘.
The ever increasing speed at which technology is changing and new software is appearing is always a concern when you are looking a 1;1 programme that will probably run for 3 years. The important factors that should remain at the front of your mind are the Primary & Secondary objectives you set at the start of this course. Remember the device and software are only tools, the real value is how effectively they are deployed in the classroom.