The latest software update to Google’s Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets introduces several minor updates as well as one huge feature for schools: Multi-user support. With the release of Android 4.2, any tablet can be set up to permit more than one unique user account profile. Each profile is an independent space, just like one’s individual login account on a Linux, Mac OS X or Window computer. Basically, it’s now easy to share one Android tablet with many students, friends or household members.
Profile avatars display on the lockscreen and are configured via a new “Users” setting. Simply tap “Add User” and follow the prompts. A new profile starts with the stock Android home screen; exactly as one sees when the tablet is first out-of-the-box. Installed applications and personal data such as pictures and settings are unique to each user space. The original tablet owner acts as the tablet administrator and can add or delete accounts as needed.
For schools, the new profile feature is a huge win. Teachers could maintain a separate and secure profile alongside a student profile. Plus, if a set of tablets is shared between various grade levels or subjects, each classroom teacher could customize a unique student login with pre-selected apps pertinent to their subject or course.
I am excited about the new Android multi-profile support and look forward to experimenting with this feature on the Nexus 7 tablets in our classrooms. Multiple profiles will certainly help make student shared tablets easier to maintain and support.