Education

10 Keyboard Options To Upgrade Your Classroom Tablets

As teachers, we want to avoid anything that makes the writing process harder than it already is. According to a report on classroom technology use, 61 percent of K-12 administrators reported that their district’s go-to devices include tablets. Touch-screen typing can be frustrating, sometimes even to the point of hindering students’ creativity. An external keyboard can help. So what’s the best keyboard for tablets? Here’s a rundown of 10 great options for both students and teachers, including Mac OS and Android products.

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The Best Keyboard for Student Tablets

The student models of the best keyboard tablets we’ve chosen below are compatible with base-model tablets and generally priced more affordably. Be sure to check product specifications for the generation of tablet each model accommodates.

Logitech Rugged Combo 3

Drop-tested to withstand falls from a height of four feet. Waterproof, pry-resistant keys. This iPad case/keyboard combo will stand up to just about anything your students can dish out. The five-position kickstand shifts to allow students almost unlimited flexibility to type, swipe, sketch, read, or use the camera. The keyboard features a row of iPad OS shortcuts and pairs automatically. Once connected, the keyboard draws power from iPad itself, so no need for batteries or USB charging.

User Review: Many users were impressed with the case’s combination of style and practicality. One said, “this is a fantastic keyboard for the fact that it is super durable and so sharp looking. The case is sturdy and provides some serious protection with the folio giving it some bulk and thickness. Feels like a nice book when carrying it and it seems to make this more upscale to me.”

Price: Under $100

Buy It: Rugged Combo 3/Logitech Store or Rugged Combo 3/Amazon

Logitech Rugged Combo Touch

Logitech Rugged Combo 3 touch keyboard case

For students who want to go completely touch-screen free, the Touch model includes all the features of the standard Rugged Combo 3 plus a high-precision trackpad. Both models come with a three-year limited hardware warranty.

User Review: “These keys have great travel and feel crisp when using, and I love the size of the trackpad. I am more of a ‘tap to click’ trackpad user, but I can appreciate the ‘clicky-ness’ of the trackpad, and again the size is awesome!”

Price: Under $120

Buy It: Logitech Rugged Combo Touch/Logitech Store or Rugged Combo Touch/Amazon

Surface Go Type Cover

Surface Go type cover

For students using the Microsoft Surface Go, this keyboard cover features a full set of backlit keys and an extra-large trackpad (3.9 x 2.2 inches) that offers students the experience of a laptop with the portability of a tablet. The cover is made of sturdy, stain-resistant material that easily wipes clean to withstand tough student use. The keyboard snaps easily onto the tablet with magnets and can be folded back when not in use or shut completely to protect the screen.

User Review: One reviewer praised this cover as “sturdy, durable, and reliable” and said that it was “perfect for a student who is on the go and doesn’t want to worry about a sensitive keyboard that might break.”

Price: Under $100

Buy It: Surface Go Type Cover/Amazon or Surface Go Type Cover/Microsoft Store

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Keyboard Cover

Samsung Galaxy tab a7 cover

For schools using Samsung Galaxy A7 tablets, this basic option gives students a keypad case without a trackpad. The Bluetooth keyboard uses a replaceable lithium battery, so teachers who don’t want to worry about charging may prefer this option. Snapping the cover closed automatically turns off the tablet, while opening it wakes the screen without a lengthy reboot. Numerous angles offer students options for screen position.

User Review: One reviewer remarked that the keyboard case was “great quality” and that they “love that the keyboard is Bluetooth.”

Price: Under $90

Buy It: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Keyboard Cover/Amazon

Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet Keyboard Folio Case

Lenovo chromebook tablet keyboard folio case

Another basic Android-specific product is this Lenovo folio keyboard case for Chromebook tablet users. The full wired keyboard attaches magnetically. Water-resistant keys are a nice feature at this price point. The case folds up nicely to secure the tablet for travel.

User Review: “It’s very comfortable to type on for long durations, and as a mechanical keyboard user, I really enjoy having some variety by switching this into my day.”

Price: Under $70

Buy It: Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet Keyboard Folio Case/Lenovo Store

The Best Keyboard for Teacher Tablets

The teacher models of the best keyboard tablets we’ve chosen below are compatible with higher-end tablet models such as the Surface Pro, iPad Pro, and iPad Air and are priced accordingly. Be sure to check product specifications for which generation of tablet each model accommodates.

Logitech Folio Touch

Logitech Folio Touch keyboard case

For adults who (supposedly) are better able to take care of their devices, the Folio Touch offers all the features of the Rugged Combo Touch with a more elegant, streamlined design. Featuring a trackpad and backlit keys, and compatible with iPad Pro and iPad Air, the Folio Touch competes directly with the Magic Keyboard (see below) but without the panache (and accompanying cost) of an Apple product.

User Review: Many reviewers remarked on the Logitech’s value compared to the Magic Keyboard. One said, “Terrific alternative … at roughly half the price. The keys and track pad are responsive and the cover material seems durable. Overall, this is a quality product and adds a lot to the iPad Pro 11 experience.”

Price: Under $150

Buy It: Logitech Folio Touch/Logitech Store or Logitech Folio Touch/Amazon

Surface Pro Signature Type Cover

Surface Pro Signature Type Cover

This case cover is the higher-end Microsoft option to the Surface Go student model (above) and includes many of the same features like a full mechanical keyset, backlit keys, and large trackpad. The case is constructed with Alcantara, a “luxury material” sourced from Italy that provides a smooth, soft feel as well as durability and stain resistance. The Pro model also comes in Microsoft’s signature colorways of Platinum, Ice Blue, or Poppy Red.

User Review: Several users remarked on the sensory experience of using the keyboard. One said, “this keyboard feels great, the material is silky smooth, and the  keys have a great feel to them.” Another praised its “sleek design [and] excellent quality.”

Price: Under $160

Buy It: Surface Pro Signature Type Cover/Amazon or Surface Pro Signature Type Cover/Microsoft Store

Brydge 12.9 Pro+

Brydge 12.9+ pro wireless keyboard

This is another reasonably priced iPad-specific folio keyboard case that offers similar backlit keys, trackpad, and is designed to easily connect to iPad via Bluetooth. The rechargeable battery will run for up to three months and comes with a USB-C cable for recharging. It also comes with a snap-on magnetic cover to protect the back of iPad.

User Review: Many reviewers also liked this product’s value for the money. One said that the Brydge Pro+ “blends perfectly with the aesthetic of the iPad … looks like it could be made by Apple.”

Price: Under $140

Buy It: Brydge 12.9 Pro+/Amazon

Apple Smart Keyboard Folio

Smart Keyboard Folio

If you’re an Apple fan, you know that the company incentivizes users to purchase Apple accessories for their products by creating as seamless an experience as possible. So it’s not surprising that the company would offer several iPad-specific keyboard case options for their flagship tablet. In the middle of the product range is the Smart Keyboard Folio, a keyboard cover that offers a full mechanical keyboard (sans trackpad) that folds shut to provide a case that protects both the front and back of iPad.

User Review: One user liked the aesthetics of the case and especially appreciated the sleek design: “I don’t know how Apple made this thing so thin but sturdy. Also love that the outside of the case is not slick or slippery. Feels velvety (not tacky) and secure in the hands or on a surface when folded closed.”

Price: Under $180

Buy It: Apple Smart Keyboard Folio/Amazon or Apple Smart Keyboard Folio/Apple Store

Apple Magic Keyboard

Apple Magic Keyboard

At the highest end of the price range for iPad is Apple’s Magic Keyboard. It earns its name for the effortless integration it offers with iPad OS and the quintessentially Apple-esque design that makes it look like the iPad is floating in midair. Compatible with iPad Pro and iPad Air, this model is definitely at the top of the range, as evident from its price point. In addition to a trackpad, it includes backlit keys, a USB-C port for pass-through charging. Plus, it folds neatly to provide both front and back protection for the iPad.

User Review: Many reviewers comments on the seamless use, turning their tablet into a computer-like experience. One purchaser noted, “The keyboard is phenomenal. Definitely could make the iPad a computer replacement. Great for taking quick notes.”

Price: Under $300

Buy It: Apple Magic Keyboard/Amazon or Apple Magic Keyboard/Apple Store

Do you have another suggestion for the best keyboard for tablets? Post it in the comments below!

If you’re in the market for a new tablet, check out our recommendations for the best tablets for teachers.


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