Tablet Fu­ture

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

As de­bate rages over the planned in­tro­duc­tion of tablets in our schools, we need to look at the is­sue ob­jec­tively and what’s best for our chil­dren. While there is op­po­si­tion to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion plan to have tablets in schools from next year, start­ing with Year 12 and 13, re­search has re­vealed that there are more ad­van­tages than dis­ad­van­tages. In a num­ber of Sin­ga­porean schools Year 3 and Year 4 stu­dents, as young as nine years old, use tablets for their science classes.

Teach­ers use spe­cial ap­pli­ca­tions to record re­sponses from stu­dents in real time, which is espe­cially help­ful to mon­i­tor progress of in­di­vid­ual stu­dents.

On the other hand, some ed­u­ca­tion ex­perts in Aus­tralia, ar­gue strongly against the in­tro­duc­tion of tech­nol­ogy such as lap­tops and tablets in schools.

The head­mas­ter of one of Aus­tralia’s top schools, Syd­ney Gram­mar School, John Val­lance, has la­belled lap­tops as a dis­trac­tion in the class­room. “We see teach­ing as fun­da­men­tally a so­cial ac­tiv­ity. It’s about in­ter­ac­tion be­tween peo­ple, about dis­cus­sion, about con­ver­sa­tion,” he said. Re­search has re­vealed that more and more schools, how­ever, are join­ing the tablet revo­lu­tion in schools. Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Ma­hen­dra Reddy is right in say­ing that we need to get in on the act oth­er­wise our chil­dren could be left be­hind.

Work in this area done by Se­curEdge, which spe­cialises in mo­bile or portable tech­nol­ogy, has un­cov­ered many ben­e­fits of tablets in schools.

Some ben­e­fits in­clude: 1) Con­tin­u­ing in­ter­ac­tion be­tween teach­ers and stu­dents us­ing ap­proved apps. Stu­dents can then send their work and/or re­sponses back to the teacher which is stored on the teacher’s ac­count to be re­viewed later or down­loaded as a .pdf re­port.

2) Pub­lish­ers of books are mov­ing to­wards sell­ing dig­i­tal ver­sions.

3) 86 per cent of stu­dents sur­veyed be­lieve that tablets can help them to study more ef­fi­ciently.

4) 60 per cent of teach­ing fac­ulty thought that stu­dents were more mo­ti­vated by lessons that used tablets.

5) Tablets im­prove lit­er­acy 6) Cre­at­ing and Shar­ing Demon­stra­tions- Teach­ers can demon­strate a pro­ce­dure once, record it and then play it back on a larger screen for stu­dents to view and dis­cuss.

7) In­ter­ac­tive text­books - with apps, teach­ers can cre­ate in­ter­ac­tive text­books fea­tur­ing 3-D graph­ics, videos, and the abil­ity to take notes. It has in­creased the level of learn­ing through in­ter­ac­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion.

8) Mo­bil­ity – Tablets can be taken around. 9) 75 per cent of stu­dents agreed that the tablets en­hanced their learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

10) A re­search study showed that stu­dents in kinder­garten us­ing tablets, scored much higher on lit­er­acy tests than stu­dents who were not.

11) So­cial Net­work­ing - While some be­lieve so­cial net­work­ing to be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive and a dis­trac­tion, the fact of the mat­ter is that it is a dom­i­nant form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with stu­dents to­day. Ed­u­ca­tors to­day sim­ply need to be cre­ative when us­ing so­cial as a learn­ing tool. Shar­ing ideas and com­ing to­gether around top­ics of in­ter­est can be a pow­er­ful way to in­ter­act with stu­dents. 12) Ben­e­fits Stu­dents with Dis­abil­i­ties - By us­ing the touch screen ca­pa­bil­ity, stu­dents who lack mo­tor skills can ac­tu­ally watch their fin­ger move and write di­rectly on the screen, this greatly im­proves their fine mo­tor skills. The teach­ers can eas­ily and cre­atively tai­lor their les­son plans for each stu­dent based on what that stu­dent needs. 13) Tablets are Light! –They ac­tively end years of car­ry­ing heavy books and buy­ing bags to carry them.

14) En­vi­ron­men­tally Safe - Tablets save on pa­per big time. Ev­ery­thing from hand­outs, tests, pre­sen­ta­tions and text­books can now be de­liv­ered to every­one.

15) Bud­get Friendly - You no longer have to re­place old text­books, dig­i­tal up­dates make this cheaper, eas­ier and faster. Teach­ers also don’t have to worry about dam­aged or lost books as well, all of this saves big bucks in the long run. 16) Speak­ing “their” Lan­guage - Stu­dents these days use tablets and mo­bile de­vices from an early age, some as early as 1 or 2 years old! By the time they are in school, it’s sec­ond na­ture to use a tablet or mo­bile de­vice.

17) Ready for To­mor­row - Stu­dents to­day need to be tech­nol­ogy lit­er­ate. Tablets play a huge role in pre­par­ing our stu­dents for col­lege and even­tu­ally their ca­reers.

18) The Fu­ture - Whether you like or not tablets are al­ready here and they will get more pop­u­lar. 75 per cent of stu­dents say that tech­nol­ogy helps them achieve their aca­demic out­comes.

Tablets are the way to the fu­ture for schools. JY­OTI PRAT­I­BHA Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

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