Companies in the running for share of £60m contract
Four companies are being touted by educators as possible contenders to provide tablet PCs for educational purposes in Scotland.
Apple and Google already have their devices and software in Scottish classrooms as part of standard IT provision or 1-to-1 pilot programmes. Apple believes that its tight integration of hardware and software will achieve in education what it has in the consumer market. Google, whose Android software is running on Toshiba tablets being trialled in schools in Edinburgh, promotes its software as being more open.
In addition, Microsoft, which is providing its 365 suite of educational apps for free to be used in conjunction with the interim stage of development of the educational intranet Glow, is marketing its new Surface tablet for educational use.
The Scottish Government recently issued a framework contract, worth up to £60m, to supply the public sector with laptops and tablet computers.
Jaye Richards-Hill, a member of the ICT Excellence Group convened by the Scottish Government to examine the future of Glow, said she was apprehensive that the “lowest bidder” might be selected.
“People are going to have to be very savvy about whether they use the eventual procurement process to do the mass purchase of tablet devices,” she says.
“I’m always concerned when these things go out to competitive tender that we’re going to get the one that is least expensive. It’s got to be handled very carefully so that schools get the best deal on the best possible product.”
See also: First step on 1-to-1 road?