Each of these will be explored in turn with examples but greater emphasis on the last two.
Cost has always been an obstacle to having many computers in schools (Micromart, N.d.). Low cost computing was then pioneered by the British Sir Clive Sinclair although the Acorn’s BBC eventually became more popular in UK schools (Lee, 2009). The greatest influx of computers into UK schools thus began in the late 1980s when the educational authorities supported the move (Smith, n.d.). Generally, the affordability of computers has been improving (Reddy, 2006) resulting in more of them being present in schools today. This includes laptops, as their prices and maintenance costs have been falling steadily making cost less of an obstacle nowadays (Warschauer, 2008).
The form factor refers to the physical size and configuration of the computer hardware, or the physical arrangement of its case or internal components (Tech Target, 2005). As far as the outward size is concerned, computers have generally become smaller in size making them more convenient and space saving including peripherals such as the monitor. Early computers were too large for schools (Eteokleous, 2008). They also lacked sound and graphics capabilities (Smith, n.d.).
The latest major trend in computer design is the tablet form. This follows on from the attempt at making smaller and cheaper laptops called notebooks. This form is likely to be more successful than notebooks because it is less bulky. Apple has led the way with its iPad, described by the company itself as "a whole new kind of device" (Apple, 2010). It offers more functionality than e-readers such as Amazons kindle and is easier to carry around than a netbook. This kind of convenience in a new computer form and at a lower cost than the traditional computers makes it ideal in education.
The iPad like all e-readers can contain many textbooks which is easier than carrying several real textbooks