iPads vs Android tablets for Education and Distance Learning


Technology for Education or Edtech, as it’s popularly abbreviated, has always been an epicenter of curiosity, apprehension and even critique, as to how will it influence and alter the pedagogy, and what kind of impact will it have on the cognition of the learners of all ages. 

Parents and educationists were apprehensive about increased screen time of students, shortening attention spans and reduced learning abilities. While some apprehensions did have merit, many constructive debates and discussions coupled with studies and research conducted in the field of education over the years, have highlighted the positives of technology in education in a very convincing fashion.

Owing to this, computers, laptops, iPad and Android tablets have become commonplace and have resulted in some massive disruptions in the domain of education. A sharp rise in the number of various E-learning platforms and the ever-increasing inclination of students towards them is a testimony of a paradigm shift in the education industry. 

And especially the testing times such as the COVID 19 crisis, have reassured and proved the worth of blending technology in with education, which has proved to be the only way out in the challenging unforeseen scenarios.  

With educational institutions incorporating digital devices to enable teaching and learning remotely, one question still remains, which one is better – an iPad or an Android tablet? As both of them have distinctive characteristics and an array of models available, it becomes overwhelmingly difficult for institutions to settle for one of them.    

In this article, we would be facilitating a comparison between Apple iPad and Android tablets, which have become the most favored choices for remote learning.  

The benefits of iPads in education and distance learning

  • iPads are scientifically proven to improve cognitive abilities

A study sponsored by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a non-profit research organization based in New York shows that iPads influence and enhance the cognitive abilities of the children and promote the sense of having more social interactions.

  • Innovative apps for education and education resource management

The App Store features more than 2,00,000 educational apps that involve applications for teaching disciples like mathematics, geography and even anatomy in a lucid manner. Apart from that, there are a number of apps for educational resource management, real-time monitoring and assessment and feedback. (Schoolwork, Classkick, etc.)

  • Efficient app store management

A differentiating point in the iPad vs Android tablet comparison is the App Store management. Apple has a restricted entry approach where each app is individually approved and scanned meticulously for viruses and bugs. Whereas, Android has a relatively open approach, and apps the process of apps being released on the Android Play Store is not as complex as Apple’s. So from the security standpoint, iPads are clearly better. 

A breach in security via a bug or a virus has particularly worse implications when one of the endpoints gets affected and exposes the entire MDM ecosystem to a risk.

  • Excellent design and usability

Apple follows the principle of minimalism, and hence it has been successfully able to offer a decluttered, simple and user-friendly interface across the wide range of its products. This minimalistic approach not even enhances the usability of the device but also helps to drive focus and maximize the attention span. 

  • Compact and easy to handle

iPads generally weigh under 500 grams which makes them fairly lightweight and easy to handle for students across ages. The compact shape of the device helps to prevent an accidental slip or similar damage to the device. 

  • Battery life

Whether you are teaching and learning remotely, or attending or teaching in a class physically, a draining battery of your device could be a huge turn off and a massive distraction from work. Hence the manufacturers of the iPad have paid meticulous attention towards providing a fantastic battery life of 10 hours so the device could last till you call it a day!

  • Pairing options (Mirroring) with Apple TV

iPads are enabled with seamless connectivity with other Apple devices and Mirroring with Apple TV. Mirroring helps in displaying learning material and sharing and discussing assessments. This is one pivotal feature of iPads that enhances classroom productivity. 

  • The price factor

Despite the listed advantages, It has to be mentioned that iPads are fairly pricey in comparison to their Android counterparts. And since every institution has an economic bottom line, the price factor has to be cautiously assessed before making a buying decision. 

The benefits of Android Tablets in education and distance learning

  • Wide range of applications for education

Similar to the iPads, There is a wide variety of subject-specific educational apps that can be accessed on Android via the Google Play store,  and a fair amount of educational resource management apps as well. Right from the immensely popular Google classroom, where the learners can get and turn in their assignments to the dynamic Office 365 suite, with applications for creating documents and alluring PowerPoint presentations.

  • Cost-effective

It is undeniable that the Android devices are much more cost-effective in comparison to the iPads and that is why it has remained a popular choice as an alternative to the iPad in the market. The low cost of an Android tablet also reduces the total cost of ownership when you create an entire ecosystem by incorporating other peripherals.  

  • Universal plug capacities

Plugin capacities are one of the key points where Android has an edge over the iPads. iPads can only be paired with Apple devices and have very specific peripherals. Android devices on the other hand can be paired and plugged in with multiple devices. These options may vary and even expand in the case of specific OEM’s which give useful amenities such as docking stations to pair the tablet with other devices and even the capacities to pair the tablets wirelessly.

  • Easy device management

With a fleet of devices deployed, iPad MDM & Android MDM has become a mandate for educational entities. MDM doesn’t just ensure that the devices are secure but also enables their convenient management through an integrated platform. Android MDM is fairly easy and much economical compared to an iOS MDM, however, irrespective of the devices, you should always consider going for an MDM solution to secure all the endpoints effectively.

Closing lines…

After the above comparison, the readers can have a fair idea about the technical nuances as well as practical implications of choosing iPads or Android tablets for education and distance learning. This read can help decision-makers at educational institutes to identify which approach is better for them based on their existing device ecosystem.

Author Bio – Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion & Nuovopay. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web-based startups.