http://brainchild.com ¦ Retail price: $299.99
By MaryAnn Karre
The Kineo is a low-cost tablet designed for educational use whose features help students focus on learning safely and securely.
Quality and Effectiveness
Brainchild’s Kineo is a seven-inch Android 2.1 tablet designed to support educational apps while discouraging students from accessing undesirable sites. It features an 800-megahertz dual core processor, 256 megabytes of RAM, and a 4,500-milliampere-hour battery that charges quickly and can hold a charge for 12 hours, so learning is not slowed or interrupted by bandwidth problems, freezing screens, or dead batteries.
Ease of Use
The Kineo is no lightweight tablet in any sense of the word; it holds a long-lasting battery, and it is sturdily built to stand up to handling by youngsters. Still, it fits easily in small hands and features a prop that angles it conveniently on a desktop. The touch screen is quite resistant, so the stylus that stores in the prop door comes in handy. Along the top are convenient ports for USB, headphone, and HDMI highdefinition video/audio out as well as an SD card slot.
Setting up the Kineo is straightforward; icons that students can access are easily moved to the desktop with the touch of a finger but are protected by a password so that students cannot add or delete applications. It is a little more difficult to add Web sites, but software that will allow applications to be installed remotely, via USB or Wi-Fi, is ready for release. Brainchild can even diagnose and service Kineos remotely. The Kineo is used most effectively with Brainchild’s Achiever! Web-based assessment and standards-based instruction program.
Creative Use of Technology
The Kineo features a Flash Player and MP4 Movie Player, so it plays many multimedia and video files crisply and realistically on the small screen. Not all multimedia sites display properly, however, and a Flash Player upgrade may be required. The Kineo’s ability to sync student data quickly and easily from the Achiever! software is this handheld’s outstanding feature.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment
The Kineo’s features are designed to focus attention on learning by removing the ability to send messages, add and delete applications, or cruise the Internet randomly. Teachers can limit the Web sites and apps that are directly accessible, but students can still follow links to other sites.
The additional Achiever! and Mechanics programs permit self-paced instruction and mobile learning with data-driven instruction. The tablet connects to Brainchild’s Achiever! instruction program, which was created for the seven-inch screen. (Note: Achiever! is included in packages of 10 or more Kineos).
¦ The Kineo keeps students focused by removing the ability to text, take pictures, or add non-approved apps.
¦ The Kineo is built to withstand classroom use, and its battery will last longer than a school day.
¦ With the Kineo and the companion Achiever! software, students can learn independently yet with guidance, and teachers can monitor and direct learning.
The Kineo is no trim and lightweight, glamorous e-reader; it is a real worker, built for the rough treatment that handhelds have to withstand in schools.