Digital Devices

Digital Devices Defined A digital device is an electronic device that can receive, store, process or send digital information.
Why did I create this list? As an educator or consumer, you are undoubtedly aware of most all of the devices listed below. However, with a growing list of products being used in K-12 education it sometimes is nice to refer to; much as we align learning tasks to content standards, we need to similarly align specific digital devices to specific learning tasks.

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. In fact, smartphones have virtually whipped out the low-end market and will primarily be a higher-end product used for more serious photography.

  • 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. As stated above, the low-end market for these stand-alone devices has been replaced by smartphones and now are primarily a higher-end product used for more serious video production.

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

  • Portable Digital Audio Recorders are handheld devices used for recording voice or music content. MP3 is the common audio format.

  • 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 still 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.

  • Virtual Reality Headset is a head-mounted device that provides virtual reality for the wearer. VR headsets are widely used with computer games but they are also used in other applications, including simulators and trainers. Wikipedia


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

  • HP Stream - Are inexpensive laptop computers with Windows OS having a solid state drive designed to work online in the cloud but also can use Windows software. 

  • 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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