Middle school students who use mobile devices for school work are more likely to express an interest in STEM subjects, yet there’s a large gap in the number of students using the devices at home and those using them in school, according to a new survey from MIT’s Center for Mobile Learning at the Media Lab and the Verizon Foundation.
Posts Tagged ‘Tablet’
by Coby Enteen
Tablets are quickly becoming the ideal solution for school 1-to-1 programs. They provide a simple, lightweight, low-cost option for seamlessly incorporating technology into the classroom. Here are reasons why:
1. Simple, Lightweight Solution – The deployment of laptops into classrooms brought with it a great deal of physical constraints ranging from the weight of the device to the complications with charging and electricity. The tablet weighs very little and provides virtually all of the same learning resources.
2. Battery Capacity – Laptops used in the past would continuously need to be recharged, often during a lesson. This was a cause of frustration for many teachers and students and severely inhibited learning.
3. Low Maintenance – Most schools and educational organizations are dependent on large IT departments with significant budgets to run and maintain a server-client environment. Most tablets rely on cloud-storage solutions. Moreover, tablet operating systems are very solid, hardly ever get “stuck”, and are not as susceptible to computer viruses. The tablets themselves require very little technical care and maintenance, thus freeing up funding spent on IT support for other educational initiatives.
4. The Low Cost/Personal Device – The average cost of a tablet is much lower than a laptop or desktop offering schools with more flexibility and the ability to step closer to a true 1-to-1 learning solution. Tablets also enable learning experiences outside of school when provided as a personal device.
5. Apps, Apps and more Apps – Mobile device applications are slowly becoming the most popular form of software development. Every day more and more applications are being released and many of them are suitable for education.
An additional article on the subject from Digital Trends:
Yesterday, I saw this article in the MIT Technology Review about a solar-powered tablet experiment in Ethiopia that seems to contradict some of what are widely considered by U.S. educators the key steps to successful implementation of a new technology: the devices are being handed out to children with absolutely no instruction or teachers.
by Coby Enteen
Working with teacher and encouraging them to integrate technology is not always a simple task. Over the course of the past few months I have been leading an initiative integrating tablets into middle schools in an urban part of the country. Many of the teachers had never really used technology as part of their teaching and it was somewhat of a shock to wake up one day to a classroom in which all of the students had a tablet and all of the books had gone digital.
Overcoming the initial shock was was not easy. At first teachers tried to bypass the use of the digital textbooks by photocopying materials from workbooks and blaming the disuse on technical problems that they were experiencing. Through a great deal of coaching, guidance, ongoing hands-on training and lots of encouragement I was able to help them to change their ways.
The training sessions focus on new learning new applications and modeling effective teaching and learning with the tablet. It is then the responsibility of the teacher to transfer the skills acquired during the professional development into the classroom setting. Most are hesitant at first, but are able to with the added support of the instructional coach.
An important dimension of the professional development is the ability to provide teachers with a clear and consistent method of instruction. Once the method is in place, it is much easier for teachers to fit the content into a specific structure, at which point they begin to think more constructively and incorporate the ‘out of the box’ thinking mentality.
We have a long way to go before all of the teachers are utilizing the tablets to full capacity, but we have definitely gained some valuable ground.