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: firstname.lastname@example.org