Charlottesville schools roll out over 2,000 computer tablets

Fujitsu ( today announced that Charlottesville City Schools (Charlottesville, Virginia) are completing the rollout of over 2,000 Fujitsu STYLISTIC® Q550 tablets, the cornerstone of its digital education initiative. Every student in grades six through 12 will be using the 1.7-pound Windows®-based tablet with the district goal of incorporating videoconferencing, electronic textbooks and multimedia resources into the curriculum.

"We scanned the ocean of options -- iPad, Droid, HP, Windows, Apple, even thin client," said Dean Jadlowski, Director of Technology, Charlottesville City Schools. "Initially we were excited by the iPad, but the integrity of the glass and limited ability to manage security were an issue. The Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q550 tablet has the durability required to survive in a backpack, offers a fully functioning Windows operating system essential for state standardized online testing, and allows us to use enterprise tools to maintain security and permissions."

The STYLISTIC Q550 tablet, running Windows 7, features a 10.1 inch wide XGA LED backlit anti-glare display for indoor and outdoor use. With over eight hours of battery life, the STYLISTIC Q550 tablet lasts an entire school day and the option to take advantage of a quick-swap battery extends it even further.

While battery life was important, computing life was an even more essential consideration. The STYLISTIC Q550 tablet is MIL-STD-810G1 tested, meeting nine of the military standard tests for various demanding environmental conditions including transit drop, dust, functional shock and high temperature.

"We were impressed by the STYLISTIC Q550 tablet's durability and the MIL-STD results exceeded our specifications for durability," said Jadlowski. "It really stood out in our requirement to minimize after-purchase repairs, and we anticipate very low maintenance."

The STYLISTIC Q550 display supports both digital pen input and capacitive touch, allowing students the flexibility to input using a pen or finger. Built-in handwriting recognition software converts input into text. When the pen is not in use, the tablet automatically readjusts to a touch interface.

"Students and faculty were excited with the tablet experience and the ability to use the stylus, fingertip or a traditional keyboard," Jadlowski said. "We couldn't find that flexibility in any other form factor in this size. After class, students simply roll up a flexible keyboard that the division is providing and carry it in their backpack."

The purchase of the STYLISTIC Q550 tablet was made possible by the Charlottesville City School's BLAST (Blended Learning to Advance Student Thinking) initiative. Blended learning environments incorporate traditional face-to-face teaching with instructional software and web-based tools. The goal of BLAST is to transform instruction in order to prepare students for careers in a complex, interconnected world.