Tablets in the Classroom

Written by Cassie on . Posted in Technology
Tablets in School

Just as computers and laptops have finally become incorporated into classrooms nationwide, another familiar technological trend is starting to creep into school—the tablet.

“Wow—Cool!”
Everyone seems to agree that tablets can be effective tools for learning in class. One tablet can store more information than a complete library of textbooks, and not just text. Enhanced graphics and illustrations, plus highly interactive lesson activities are more engaging to students than reading from textbooks, making the tablet ideal for classroom teaching.

Tablets Outweigh Textbooks Because Textbooks Outweigh Tablets.
This impossible statement is true! And it speaks entirely in favor of the tablet. Even older tablets weigh only one-third the weight of an average classroom textbook. Textbook content and curriculum cannot be changed without printing new books and discarding old ones, while tablets are programmable and their lesson content can be updated at any time, without any waste. Tablets also have the mobility of a textbook, and they are without question more adaptable to evolving student needs.

Been There, Done That
Students have also already become acclimated to tablet technology because of the widespread use of smartphones. A few years ago, students might have had to take up classroom time learning how to use the tablet before actually employing it to learn other subjects. Today, however, young people are highly familiar with touch screen technology. Everyone is already using it!

“Uh, Where Are We?”
Of course it would not be fair to list the disadvantages to classroom tablet use, not that they count as advantages of a textbook! While they are capable of adapting better than a textbook, tablets are also capable of distracting better than a textbook. Teachers need students to stay focused on at-hand tasks. While they might not give you too hard a time for flipping to another page in your textbook, you can bet you will get in trouble if you are accessing a divertive app on your tablet rather than paying attention to the ongoing lesson. Classrooms today already forbid the use or exhibition of personal cell phones because of problems with rampant texting and game-playing during lesson time.

Living Outside the Tablet
Computers have started the process of making writing obsolete, and tablets make typing difficult. The idea that some schools are moving away from teaching writing is sad. Tablet technology in the classroom does good things, but it does not erase the need for basic reading, writing and research skills. It doesn’t do much to develop those skills, either. While tablets are growing in popularity and have many distinct everyday uses in society, students still need to learn how to be able to live outside the tablet. Some functions in life still require knowing how read, write, add and subtract.

Costliness
Of course, the affordability issue is real. Providing a tablet to every student is a  costly investment. But tablets weigh three times less than textbooks, one tablet costs about three times more than one textbook! However, utilizing one tablet over sequential school years makes it cost effective very quickly. Each student would to be able to maintain learning materials for all subjects in one device and experts believe that making tablets a regular part of the education process will save money in the long run.

“My Dog Ate It”
Tablets require more gentility than textbooks. They are fragile. You can’t step on a tablet or throw it and expect nothing to happen. And, unfortunately, tablets disappear more often than textbooks.

Tablet use in classrooms is inevitable as technology continues to push paper and handwriting functions further out of the way. Let us know what your experiences in the classroom has been with tablets. We know every situation is unique and would love to hear about your experiences as well!

 

 

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