Intel pushes interactive learning with Android/Windows reference designs

News 1 Feb, 2013

Chipmaker wants to grab a major slice of the education market.

Intel has showcased a number of reference designs at the Bett 2013 trade show – ranging from Windows Ultrabooks to Android tablets - designed for use in the classroom.

One of the more interesting concepts on show was the Intel Classmate PC – a 10in clamshell device running Windows 8.

The PC has been specifically designed for the classroom with features such as a wide angle touch screen, robust waterproof keyboard, as well as multiple audio jacks and USB ports. The device is also available with a 6-cell battery, giving it a touted usage time of 11 hours.

Intel is expecting to license out the design to OEM partners this year, and has confirmed plans to provide its education software suite as part of any package.

Intel treated IT Pro to a demo of its scientific suite. We were able to see how children can connect a microscope to the device, carry out time-lapse pictures and even use AR technology to interact with experiments in a science lesson.

The firm has created a comprehensive management suite - and the devices can be controlled remotely. So, for example, the teacher can lock at all the devices, open up specific applications or send questions directly to PCs, which the children can then answer.

The teacher would also be able to monitor what students are viewing either on the specific interactive whiteboard or via their own tablet/laptop.

Prices for the clamshell device have yet to be confirmed, but Intel suggested the cost of deploying these machines will be on a par with a netbook rollout.

Intel also showcased an Android tablet. A typical use case would see teachers use the device to monitor student machines.

Speaking to IT Pro, Brandon Frerking, from Intel’s World Ahead Education division, said schools need to embrace technology instead of limiting it.

“We want to create magic in the classroom and help to engage learning. Schools have to embrace technology as kids want to use their devices. Putting restrictions in place by banning devices such as smartphones is not beneficial and will not encourage learning,” he said.

“The need to deploy devices such as clamshell laptops to children and teenagers is important, but it is imperative they can take them home.

"This allows children to take ownership of device, engages learning and also helps to get parents involved, which is critical," he added.

So far Intel claims to have sold 10 million reference designs since its entry into the education market in 2007.

The increased use of technology within the classroom is likely to be a big growth area for the firm as it looks to diverse its business in the wake of slowing PC sales.