Dell launches new line of affordable, flexible endpoint devices for the education market.

The multiple choice exam requiring students to select the correct answer from a list of options is a time-honored test format in K-12 education. Dell EMC recently presented school districts with a multiple choice question that has no wrong answers.

The infrastructure solutions division of Dell Technologies has developed a portfolio of endpoint computing devices purpose-built for the education sector. Based on Dell’s workhorse Latitude business laptop family, these new devices are affordable, flexible and built to take a beating.

The lineup includes a 13-inch laptop, an 11-inch laptop, and an 11-inch convertible with a touchscreen display and a 360-degree hinge that can be used as either a laptop or a tablet. They come with a choice of either Microsoft Windows or Google Chrome operating systems, providing flexibility for schools that have hybrid technology implementations and multiple technology needs.

The devices are also built for a full day of learning, delivering all-day battery life. Additionally, they are built to withstand classroom abuse. They have rubberized shock protection to protect against drops and sealed keyboards and touchpads to protect against spills.

Affordable and Empowering

Best of all, they are budget-friendly — a key consideration in an age when school districts are facing increased pressure to both stretch their dollars and enhance classroom innovation.

“Dell’s new devices are affordable enough that schools can move forward with one-to-one computing initiatives, where every student has access to a device,” said Edna Zielmanski, National SLED Relationship Manager, ProSys. “That will allow classroom teachers to facilitate a more personalized learning environment.”

Studies show that one-to-one classroom computing ratios deliver significant benefits for students. A Michigan State University study conducted over the past 15 years found that providing laptop computers to students resulted in better outcomes in English/language arts, writing, math and science. The study’s authors say one-to-one programs also enhance engagement and enthusiasm among students, improve teacher-student relationships and promote “21st-century skills” such as technological proficiency and problem solving.

“Learning-model best practices have evolved and today’s education environment needs to be personalized and student-led, giving students the freedom to produce their best work both inside and outside the classroom,” said Jon Phillips, managing director of worldwide education strategy, Dell EMC. “With this release of our best-ever portfolio of education devices, we want to empower student-led learning by providing the tools both educators and students need to inquire, create and collaborate, wherever that may take place.”

The Details

The 3189 is the 11-inch convertible device that comes as either the Latitude (Windows OS) or Chromebook (Chrome OS) version. The device’s 360-degree flexibility allows it to be used in three different modes: clamshell, tablet or tent. An outward-facing camera in tablet mode allows students to create videos and other multimedia projects.

The Windows version also offers the optional Dell Productivity Active Pen so students can improve their understanding of conceptual applications by writing notes and making diagrams with natural pen-to-paper writing motion. While there are some debates about the use of styluses, multiple studies have shown that hand-written information is committed to memory to a much greater degree when compared to typing.

The Latitude and Chromebook 3180s are 11-inch notebooks featuring a new design that reduces the overall size so they’re easy to move from desk to table for group assignments. They feature an ergonomically designed keyboard for natural, comfortable student use and all-day battery life. The fully sealed keyboards and click pads provide protection against spills, and the “secure” keys are 50-percent more tamper-resistant than in previous products.

The 3180s also feature a 180-degree lay-flat, durable hinge to support collaboration, allowing students and educators to gather around a single device and view material together. The Latitude 11 is available with 7th Gen Intel Celeron and Pentium processors, while the Chromebook 11 is available with 6th Gen Intel Celeron processors.

The Latitude and Chromebook 3380 models are 13-inch notebooks that deliver a larger screen, more powerful processing performance and faster memory. These models are designed to support advanced curricula, content delivery methods and learning use cases, providing a powerful platform for students and teachers to create and explore. They are particularly useful for students running STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) applications.

Even with increased performance and reduced size, these laptops also deliver all-day battery life. Optional E-Rate mobile broadband (Windows only) allows educational institutions to support connected learning at a discounted rate wherever Wi-Fi isn’t available. The Latitude 13 is available with 6th and 7th Gen Intel Celeron, Pentium, and up to Core i5 processors, while the Chromebook 13 is available with 6th Gen Intel Celeron or Core i3 processors.

Going Digital

Dell’s budget-friendly options come at a great time for school districts that are seeing more textbooks and associated learning resources go digital. A recent survey by The Learning Counsel, an education-focused research institute, finds that 86 percent of K-12 schools are looking to expand their digital curricula in 2017.

Studies show that the use of digital curricula can help schools improve on-time graduation rates, lower dropout rates and improve exam scores. Evidence suggests it is particularly helpful in creating targeted lessons for struggling students, allowing them to work at their own pace.

This shift from paper-based resources makes student access to computing devices more important than ever. In a recent survey of more than 1,300 K-12 educators conducted by Technology Horizons in Education, responding teachers ranked laptops, Chromebooks and tablets as the most valuable tools for teaching and learning.

Among those surveyed, an overwhelming 92 percent said they see laptops as either “essential” or “valuable” for teaching and learning. Tablets gained the same rating from 87 percent while Chromebooks were cited by 80 percent.

“Putting a device in front of a student doesn’t automatically improve teaching or learning,” said Zielmanski. “However, access to devices does create the possibility for students to become more actively involved in the learning process and for teachers to create a more enriching classroom experience.

“Dell’s new portfolio of education-focused endpoint devices puts some pretty powerful tools in the hands of students and teachers. These tools can help create an environment in which students are encouraged to indulge their curiosity, collaborate with their peers and teachers, and push the boundaries of what they thought was possible.”