International Data Corporation predicts total global shipment of tablets in 2013 to be 172.4 million units. By 2016, this figure is expected to reach 282.7 million units. The lowering costs and easy usability of these hand held gadgets has literally placed education in hand.
Learning has assumed a whole new meaning with tablets like iPads and iPod touch-like devices in the classroom. Educational podcasts, downloadable lectures, and free online courses are catering to an increasingly larger and diverse section of consumers. Grandparents in the 60 plus age group, young girls living in regions prone to gender-inequality, to name a few, are new demographics of students who are silently educating themselves. Though tablets have visibly altered the educational field, its maximum effect is felt in classroom learning.
Tablets have Created an Equal Learning Platform in Classrooms
Some students are quick learners while others are not. Tablets provide all types of students an equal learning opportunity. The not-so-quick learners can repeatedly access the virtual teacher, without apprehension of embarrassment.
Education is Convenient on a Tablet
Numerous educational apps are available which make learning interesting and educators have to select the right app. Teachers can also use their tablet for selecting simulation games for skill training and gauging how well their students learned. These conveniences free them to concentrate more on teaching and less on testing and grading.
It’s also possible for teachers to try out different methods to turn education appealing. Julie DeNeen has presented a few suggestions which include using the social media platform by students to post their assignments, hold discussions about it, and encouraging each other with proper feedback. Educators can oversee this digital behaviour to make sure it is along acceptable lines.
Uses of tablets are many. As an educator it depends on how innovatively you use it to maximise these benefits. Over time schools will conclude that the gains far exceed the initial cost spent on giving students a 1:1 learning device.
Tablets are Cost- effective
It’s becoming an accepted fact from the various mobile learning projects around the country that by reading on a tablet instead of physical books, journals and newspapers alone, the initial cost of deploying a tablet can be recovered. Being lighter than a laptop, it gives access to an array of study materials, making knowledge available at the fingertips.
Tablets, as an educational aid is gaining universal appeal. When Thailand made available 900,000 tablets to its first graders, the local media reported, many teachers were asked to expand their tablet classes as students enjoyed content on it more.
It is an interesting time in the history of computing and the history of education. As mobile learning projects mature and we start measuring the impact, not just in terms of cost but in terms of the effectiveness of pedagogy, I believe that it will lead to the biggest transformation in education as we know it.