Digital Devices

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  • A Digital Devices Guide for Receptive and Expressive Learning Activities
    by Doug McIntosh

Rugged Student Laptops:

Desktop Computers:

Mobile Devices: Handheld electronic devices

  • Audience Response Systems (called Student Response Systems in education) are hand-held wireless control devices (often called 'clickers') and used by students to electronically respond to a teacher's questions. The students' responses are then received to the teacher's computer and displayed through a video projector system. New systems through software applications can include, cell phones, smartphones and laptop computers as the response device.

  • Digital Still Cameras are cameras that encode digital single images and moving video and stores them digitally. These cameras are stand-alone handheld devices and now, most commonly used and integrated into every smartphone.

  • Digital Video Cameras are cameras that encode digital moving video and stores these images digitally. These cameras are stand-alone devices (often called camcorders) and now, most commonly used and integrated into every smartphone.

  • Graphing Calculators are handheld calculators that are capable of plotting graphs, solving simultaneous equations, and performing other tasks with variables.

  • Probeware are handheld scientific equipment and sensor hardware interfaced with software and computer systems for the purpose of collecting, interpreting, and analyzing data. 

  • Smartphones  are mobile phones having a computer operating system with touchscreen and/or stylus input. Smartphones are Internet capable and use webs apps and services and include camera and video capabilities.

  • Tablet Computers are one-piece mobile computers having a touch-screen display with finger and/or stylus input used instead of a traditional laptop keyboard and mouse. Tablets come equipped with built-in speaker, ports and function buttons and have a camera and video recording capabilities. Tablets are larger than smartphones.
    • Slate Tablets are tablet computers without a dedicated keyboard. 
      • E-readers or e-books are slate tablet computers designed for better readability of their screens, especially in bright sunlight, and longer battery life.
      • Gaming Tablets are slate tablet computers designed with better graphics, resolution and processing power than a typical tablet device. This category is expanding from just entertainment content to learning and creative content.
    • Laplets are tablet computers with two distinct parts- a tablet touch-screen display that can be separated from typically a membrane-type keyboard as in the Microsoft Surface.


  • Chromebooks are laptop computers with Google Chrome OS having a solid state drive designed to work online in the cloud.

  • Convertible laptops have a flip, twist or split base body with an attached (moving parts) keyboard. These laptops can converted into four different modes: traditional laptop, tent, stand and tablet as in the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga.

  • Mini, Sub or Ultra "notebook" laptops are thinner, lighter and usually with 12" and smaller screen size.

  • Rugged (or ruggedized) laptops are specifically designed to operate reliably in harsh usage environments and conditions built with a tougher external housing and internal components.

Desktop Computers:

  • Traditional Desktop Computers have a separate case housing containing the computer processing unit (CPU), power supply, memory and graphic chips, ports and fan. A separate monitor, keyboard and mouse are also part of the system.

  • All-in-One Desktop Computers integrate the system's internal components into the same case as the screen display, eliminating some connecting cables and allowing for a smaller footprint. A separate keyboard and mouse are still needed.
    • Touchscreen All-in-One desktops control the computer through multi-touch gestures with fingers and/or a stylus pen. These desktop computers also include a separate keyboard and mouse and for the education market provide a multi-mode computer for a variety of users.

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