Surprise, surprise, kids aren’t just using tablets to play “Angry Birds”! Teachers are successfully incorporating tablets within schools everyday to boost interactive learning and connectivity for students across the world. The days of hauling a heavy backpack filled with textbooks may soon be over. Tablets are quickly becoming popular among K-12 students and teachers, replacing textbooks and computers.
A GROWING TREND
A report from the new International Data Corporation (IDC) research shows that tablet shipments into the
U.S. Education Sector expanded by 103% in 2012 and is expected to grow even more in 2013. This growth
is driven by lower tablet costs and manufacturers, content creators and educators working together to
create better delivery and quality of content in the classroom.
BENEFITS OF TABLETS
Most tablets today have a large memory, which can hold hundreds to thousands of textbooks, learning
games and puzzles as well as software for homework. All this in a small device that is easy to carry around.
Tablets also offer an exciting, visually stimulating way to learn. With interactive tools and software,
videos and audio files, tablets can bring the words in a textbook to life. Instead of trying to visualize an
aerodynamic theory, students can watch video that explains how a plane flies. They can connect with
peers and teachers online and share ideas with other students around the world.
Tablets are also cost-effective, offering savings for schools. According to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC), the U.S. spends about $7 billion per year on textbooks, many of which are seven to
ten years out of date. In total, the FCC estimates the U.S. could save $3 billion (assuming that a tablet
would cost $150, as schools buy them in bulk) as hardware gets cheaper and technology advances.
Electronic versions of textbooks are easier and quicker to update, which will save millions on
printing costs and ensure information getting to students is up-to-date.
DO TABLETS IMPROVE LEARNING?
There is some evidence that in the long term, student readers are better able to remember what they read
in printed books than what they read on an electronic screen. Kate Garland of the University of Leicester
in England conducted a study in which psychology students were bombarded with questions on
economics after reading digital and printed versions of text. Garland found that students reading the
unfamiliar text in digital versions had to read it several times before gaining the same knowledge as
print readers. She also found that students reading printed material understood it better.
Educators need to be aware that students may take longer to absorb material when reading on a digital
device and should take this into consideration when creating lesson plans.
*By Samba Lampich
LET’S DISCUSS THIS!
So, what do you think about this shift from textbooks to tablets? What are some challenges that would arise from exclusively using tablets? Could
you see your school adopting this type of interactive learning in the future? Let us know what your opinion is; we would love to hear what you
have to say!
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