Kate O'Brien, Marketing Director at Daisy Group, discusses how embracing tablets in the classroom can enhance a pupil's learning experience.
The back to school shopping run once consisted of parents searching for new exercise books, pencil cases and uniforms that would last a child a matter of months until their next growth spurt. Today pupil’s rucksacks look visibility lighter, as students begin to ditch the textbooks for tech alternatives.
Over the last couple of years, smartphones and tablets have become part of the furniture within the modern day classroom; whereas once they would have been confiscated, schools now encourage their pupils to use them. Teachers now have the potential to integrate technology into their lesson plans and create stimulating learning environments.
The key word to successful adoption is “integration”. The education sector has purchased over 10 million tablet devices worldwide, but by its own admission, only a quarter of teachers actually know how to use them effectively to enhance the learning experience.
Contrary to popular belief, the arrival of tablet computers will never detract from the amazing role teachers have to play in a pupil’s development – they will simply make their lives easier. The teachers that take the time to harness the tablet’s undoubted potential are the ones that will be able to create amazing personalised learning experiences for their students.
Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of maths, simply because I would have to bury my head in a series of long, boring textbooks. Today children can read e-books, watch video tutorials and be a finger click away from the internet and a plethora of resources. This interactive way of learning is far more enjoyable and engaging, and as a result teachers are finding it much easier to hold the attention of their students, particularly at primary school level.
Children as young as six are now computer-literate and using tablet and iPads in their own free time. Surely it make sense, therefore, to provide them with familiar tools to enhance their own learning experience?
Pupils today absorb information online more than traditional methods of teaching, and in some cases, it is literally the only way to connect with them. Tablets and iPads allow teachers to modify lessons and utilise the wide range of apps to create new levels of interactivity between classrooms.
Finding the balance
The key for successful implementation is maintaining a healthy balance between technology and physical interaction. Social experiences will always play a crucial part in helping a child develop.
It is also important to remember that allowing pupils to bring their own devices into the classroom, in line with the bring-your-own-device trend that has swept through the education sector, can cause problems if a school isn’t prepared. For example, if a child forgets their tablet for the day, do they automatically miss out on a day’s worth of learning?
The solution is simple – schools supply the technology themselves. Although there will be an initial outlay, the long-term benefits will help justify any cost. Controlling what pupils look at through a mobile device management solution also comes into play if a school goes down this route.
I’ve only scratched the surface here in terms of the tablet’s potential for learning. The technology really can be used to improve academic standards but the key as always, is to learn how to apply it effectively.
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