We are going to talk in the following post about tablets and whether it would be a good or a bad idea to use them in schools. We will also try to see if there are real possibilities of making the learning process better with the help of tablets, but we will also compare tablet PCs with netbooks and notebooks from this point of view.
Tablets in schools- good idea
- First of all, tablets would probably be good teaching tools because they catch the attention of pupils. Just think of how boring are some classes where a teacher comes in front of the classroom and writes on the board, and writes, and writes, and talks, and talks, and ends up with nobody listening. Now think of how would that change when everything that the teacher would talk about would be illustrated on a bright and shiny gadget in a way that could also entertain the student!
- Secondly, tablet PCs nowadays offer loads of applications that are designed especially for learning purposes. Not only that, but there are companies, like InterAction Education, that develop applications on demand, after talking with teachers and schools officials. No ragged books, no boring theoretical lessons, everything could be taught practically, interactively and fun!
- Finally, there have been different studies that have shown an increase in motivation, imagination and creativity at students who used tablet PCs in classrooms. Also, the learning process has proven more efficient and students have understood more quickly and more accurately what was asked from them.
Tablets in schools- bad idea
- While tablets bring a world of knowledge at a student’s discretion, they can also bring a world of distraction and bad influence. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to watch over an entire class of students and to ensure that all of them are paying attention to what it is asked from them. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to prevent a student from listening to music, texting or surfing the internet during a class.
- Secondly, there is the financial aspect of this problem, an aspect that almost makes the introduction of tablets in classroom impossible. On one hand, if you demand your students to buy their own tablets, it will be highly likely that some of them will not afford these devices. On the other hand, if the gadgets would be acquired by the schools, it is also unlikely that the budgets would be able to cover an expense that great. Also, think about the costs of replacing broken or faulty tablets. Or imagine the theft rate!
- Thirdly, while tablets would increase motivation and imagination, there would be some educational aspects that would be seriously hindered. There is the writing problem, considering that very few high-end tablets currently feature handwriting recognition( a problem that we have recently debated). Also, you would probably be faced with a decrease in social skills, considering that children will be encouraged to further communicate through indirect methods.
Laptops or tablets?
Aside from the discussion regarding the advantages and disadvantages of introducing an alternative learning and teaching method, we also have to see whether tablets are in fact the best choice when it comes to gadgets or if netbooks or notebooks could be a better choice.
An argument in favor of tablets would be these devices’ versatility and portability. Tablets as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer or the upcoming Asus Eee Pad Slider can easily be used as classic tablets or as notebook replacements while being easy to move around.
Also, there is the applications aspect, which should be taken into consideration seriously. Therefore, there are special apps featured by tablets nowadays, apps that can’t be found on netbooks or notebooks. Also, you have some educational tablets on the market today, as it is the case of the InnoPad or the Vinci, devices that could be used in kindergarten to make the kids even more comfortable with tablets use.
On the other hand, netbooks and notebooks feature wider screens and larger keyboards, which could prove significantly more comfortable and should provide less health problems than tablets.
Furthermore, it has to be said that very often notebooks are more solid than tablet PCs and last longer than tablets when used by scholars.
As far as pricing goes, it is very difficult to determine which one of the two would be more affordable, considering that both tablets and notebooks are pretty expensive. However, there are some tablets that come at a very good price, while keeping the basic features that you would probably need in class. One of the examples which comes to mind right now is the Archos 101, a 10-inch tablet that is currently available at Amazon for 249 dollars.
Is using tablet PCs in schools a good or a bad idea? Impossible to answer this question right now. In a perfect world, where students would be only interested in learning and where money would not be a problem, the answer would probably be yes.
But in our world, in the real world, it is still very difficult to foresee the moment where these extremely powerful resources will be able to be used successfully to help the learning process.