Posted on July 11, 2013 in – Publishing, Industries, Liquid State Blog

How Tablets and Education Go Hand in Hand

11Jul
Education and Technology

Technology is now so ubiquitous – especially amongst Gen Y – that tablets and education coming together is inevitable.

For this reason, and many more, educators are starting to realise the need to embrace technology in the classroom and make it a key part of their teaching method.

After all, students respond better and are more interested in learning when the education is pitched at their own level.

I come from a family of teachers so I’m constantly surrounded by conversations about technology in education and recently there has been more and more talk at the dinner table about the benefits of tablets in schools.

The attraction of tablets has improved markedly in recent years for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the range of education apps now available for tablets is huge. These apps include interactive tools for teachers and students and are generally user friendly and cost effective.

And they’re not just limited to school students. University students have access to a plethora of useful apps for a variety of purposes, including simple things like time management and organisation.

Secondly, tablets are lighter than laptops and are a lot more convenient.

Parents in particular are concerned about the weight of school bags laden with computers and heavy textbooks, and that’s why many schools are opting for, or are in the throes of considering, a BYOD (bring your own device) approach.

While a BYOD system is advantageous in some respects, there are still a lot of issues that schools need to think about before deploying it.

For example, they need to ensure they have adequate infrastructure to ensure they can meet cross-platform needs. At the moment, not all education apps are cross-platform, and this has the potential to advantage some students and disadvantage others.

HTML apps are one possible solution to this problem, and as such are the way of the future in education.

Schools instituting BYOD need to ensure that their bandwidth can handle one device per student connected to the Internet at the same time and that teachers are capable of responding to technical issues.

They will also need to consider issues of equity. Some families might not be able to afford to buy devices for all of their children; some might not be able to afford to buy one full stop; and some children might feel that their device is inferior.

These issues, as well as questions relating to the strategic implementation of BYOD must be carefully considered if schools are to consider revamping their digital policy.

Thirdly, the cut in the federal government funding from the Digital Education Revolution (DER) coupled with the already deeply rooted expectations that Australian students should, and will have access to anywhere/ anytime learning, makes tablets a no brainer.

Tablets are a more economical, practical option than classrooms full of desktop computers, or even laptops.

Finally, from a pedagogical standpoint, tablets are in a league of their own.

The much touted 21st century skills of collaboration, convergence, problem solving, and creativity are not only inherent in the use of tablets, they’re made simple and achievable.

People want an education that prepares them for the real world and in today’s technologically driven society… tablets are a reality.

Featured image courtesy of Wilfred Iven.