Technology is invading the education field at an increasing pace. The process has effectively evolved from learning on blackboards to learning on interactive whiteboards. Our generation dreamt about using desktop computers to solve math sums, write and draw. The next generation speculated about the benefits of having laptops in the classroom. Sounds awkward in our days, doesn’t it? It’s now the era of a tablet, that small immediately operational vehicle of technology and knowledge.
In terms of education, the tablet is a fairly priced, mighty computer that enriches training through the use of an intuitive touchscreen and simple controls. The advantages of using electronic devices in learning are common knowledge. An increasing number of traditional classrooms factor in personal-use tablets as part of the curriculum.
As always, some conservative educators are concerned with the tablet being a major distraction. Others argue it’s not only a sophisticated toy but a versatile instrument revolutionizing the modern instruction landscape. There is over 15,000 educational apps in Apple’s App Store alone, and Google Play is neck and neck. The app ecosystem provides an abundance of learning content for all ages and various knowledge domains.
Apparently, teachers’ concerns may be justified in some cases, yet it’s hard to overestimate the benefits of tablets in the classroom. This article sums up 10 advantages of tablet use that span across different institutions and teaching methodologies. Let’s see why it’s so cool to be a student these days!
1. Easy to use
Those preoccupied with the technology challenge have to admit tablets are way more intuitive and easier to use than desktop and laptop computers, or even paper books. I mean, toddlers can use tablets. Textbooks seem to be losing the battle on all fronts.
2. Direct Communication
Tablets connect all major stakeholders: students, parents and teachers. Handwritten notes or tasks can be lost in no time, intentionally or accidentally. This never happens with digital data: any feedback including criticism, kudos or concern, is out there for further reference. The ‘forgetfulness’ factor doesn’t fly any more. Neither for students – nor teachers.
3. Live knowledge base
The instructor can quickly deliver engaging material to the students in real time in just a couple clicks. Sorry, a couple taps! Furthermore, students can use recommended resources to do their homework. Tablets give students instant access to individual research, a tremendous knowledge base available at their fingertips.
4. Personal approach
As an instructor, you have to address a multitude of learning styles since not all students are equal. Some are slow runners, others are sprinters. Pace differs, interests differ as well. The teacher can use the e-Learning arsenal to overcome this barrier and deliver the same course in different ways. For example, show videos or invite students to play edu games.
The tablet also accommodates special needs. Learners who have a disability will appreciate the tablet’s flexibility, freedom of access and tailored curriculums.
5. More cost-effective than textbooks
When you get right down to it, in the mid- to long-term perspective, the tablet is, in fact, a really smart investment. If pays off well when you get the burden of supporting obsolete infrastructure off your shoulders. No dust, no price hikes, no surprises from textbook providers, no storage and damage issues. Full scalability and lightweight backpack that fits thousands of textbooks in a single device.
6. Faster visualization, quicker reporting
The tablet is a great incentive for cultivating scientific skills. For instance, students can document their field trips right away, be it camping, going to the zoo or a museum. It’s not just taking pictures, students can make use of interactive maps or facility-specific content available on smartphones and tablets.
7. Improving computer skills. Boosting creativity
Like it or not, computers rule the world, so it’s vital to learn how to rule computers from elementary school onwards. Besides, the convenient tablet format encourages creativity – draw, compose music or make films with no extra tools required. That’s how students become a creative force rather than passive knowledge recipients.
8. Hassle-free assessment
And yes, teachers gain a lot, too! Easier student assessment and classroom management, finding unique teaching approaches and reinventing gamification for new purposes – it’s all there, just one touch away. At last, the instructors are empowered with technology that spares them from tedious grading and provides more time for teaching!
9. Paperless homework
Some tech-savvy institutions have already adopted the system where students turn in their papers in a strictly digital format. Paper is no longer an option. Too ‘green’ for your taste? Might be, but this is definitely a direction many colleges are headed. Paperless innovation is the new buzzword. No more ink and notepads. It’s all digital, eliminating the paper and helping the environment.
10. Learning simulations
It might be too risky and costly to fly a jet or spaceship in a test mode, yet simulations give you the right feeling and some of the required skills. Pilots, soldiers, and surgeons have been using simulation games for an eternity. Now they are available on tablet devices. Playing is not all about distraction and procrastination, games can really inspire creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
I hate to do this, but a few words must be said about the cons. Basically, they all boil down to four major concerns:
- Unnecessary distraction. Applies to younger students as well as grown-ups. It might be hard to focus when you have in your hands a web-enabled device that can virtually take you thousands of miles away from the stuffy classroom.
- Technical limitations. Tablets do not support multitasking, so several files or windows might be a challenge to lesson integrity. Besides, online security has to be taken seriously and requires a professional IT workforce. Not to mention the trivial fact that tablets run on batteries, and batteries tend to run out of charge at the least appropriate moment.
- Budgetary considerations. Notwithstanding the long-term benefits, tablets are pretty costly. The school just needs to call the shots, which may take substantial time and expense re-allocation.
- Training and adaptability. Teachers may be unwilling to adapt their methodology to a new format. Consistent results take extra time and effort on the instructor’s side.
At any rate, these factors don’t constitute any real dealbreakers, in my opinion. It does take time and determination to embrace the new technology, but after all, the rewards outweigh the risks many times over.
When deciding whether to incorporate tablets into your curriculum, it’s key to define your ultimate goals and major stakeholders. Unanimous acceptance is crucial to make the new initiative work despite the possible downsides.
Tablets prepare students for the future workplace, they give confidence and creative tools unrivalled by traditional classroom infrastructure, and they engage those who are hard to reach and motivate. Last but not least, they just help our kids and ourselves speak the same language – that’s an opportunity you really don’t want to squander.
Can you think of any other advantages of using tablets in the classroom? Join the conversation, I’d love to hear them!
As always, I appreciate your feedback. Please answer a short question below so I can add this to my findings.