- Education and Science
Three Reasons You Should Choose Tablets For Your Classroom
In an ideal world, teachers would have an unlimited amount of money to purchase technology for use in their classroom. Interactive whiteboards, desktops, laptops, tablets, iPods, whatever you could think of.
Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world. We have limited budgets, and we have to make choices. If you have to choose one mobile device for use in your school or classroom, what should you choose?
Why Choose Tablets Over Other Mobile Devices?
Tablets offer a number of affordances over other mobile devices. We're going to focus on three of them - their use as eReaders, their convenience, and their touchscreen interface.
Tablets Are Perfect For Reading Text
One reason that tablets are ideal for use in schools is that they are awesome as reading devices. Tablets are shaped like the page of a book, and a Kindle app or eReader app can turn any tablet into an eReader. Resize text to a convenient size, buy books straight from Amazon or the Play Store, and even read any number of free classic novels from Amazon.
This is great for educational purposes, because you can use tablets as textbook eReaders. Many novels for English class can be obtained for free, and licenses can be purchased at a discount for textbooks and other books. In the long run, students have a better reading experience and schools have a smaller textbook bill.
Tablets Are Incredibly Convenient, And Can Be Used Anywhere
Tablets are like phones. You can pull them out anywhere, anytime, and use them. This makes doing schoolwork and studying an extremely convenient activity for students enabling them to make better use of their time.
Waiting in line at the mall? Study a few flashcards for your history test. Waiting for the bus? Read a few pages from your English novel. Waiting for your pizza? Do a couple math problems for homework.
By moving everything onto the Internet and putting it in the palm of a student's hand, you can make studying a simple activity that a student can engage in at any time. This is far more convenient than dragging a backpack full of books around, and it's also easier to do than pulling out a laptop to get some work done.
Touchscreens Offer a Unique Interface
Tablets have touchscreens, and this enables you to do some pretty cool and unique things. It creates a simple, intuitive interface and an enjoyable user experience.
For example, elementary school students can use their fingers to write on a touch screen or to sketch a simple drawing. In math, you can write out equations and work, which is very awkward to do with a regular keyboard. You can also make use of user interface elements like pinch to zoom and panning around a screen.
In this case, the strength of the tablet rests on the strength of the app designers. However, it opens up great opportunities that are not available to designers creating websites or software for use on traditional computers.
An Awesome Slideshare On the Topic (Click the Link Below)
Which Tablet Would You Buy...?
If you were choosing a tablet for school, which one would you buy...?
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you want to know if tablets are the right choice for your school or classroom's one to one program, try asking yourself these questions:
- Are we deploying devices to help replace textbooks and to allow students to read digital content?
- Are we trying to make studying and schoolwork more convenient, so students can engage in it anywhere, anytime?
- Do our students have quick, simple actions that they can take to fill the downtime in their lives with learning?
- Are we going to make use of apps that utilize a touchscreen interface?
If the answers to these questions are yes, then you probably want to use tablets. If not, you might want to consider laptops, netbooks, or Chromebooks.
Shop For a Tablet
A 10 inch Android tablet that can be converted into a laptop with a docking station.
Another 10 inch Android tablet.
A smaller version of the Galaxy Tab.
Some Closing Thoughts
Laptops have their advantages. For example, a real keyboard is much better suited for typing long form assignments like essays and research papers. You can mitigate this difference with a bluetooth keyboard or docking station for a tablet, though.
Ultimately, we need more research that actually compares tablets, netbooks, and Chromebooks. There are lots of good options for mobile devices in schools, and each one has it's own advantages. For some schools, tablets may be the best choice. If we don't compare them and investigate the strengths and weaknesses of each device, though, we'll be left in the dark making decisions based on gut instinct and the latest fab.