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Using tablets in the classroom

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By Anthony David

Read about one teacher’s experiences using tablets and mobile devices within lessons.

Tablet teacher

If you hadn’t noticed, the world has gone mobile. Most people own at least one digitally mobile device. At a recent school show I noticed that parents had the usual digital camera and phones recording the event but also an array of tablets, held aloft as if the owner was watching their child on TV!

So, what is the advantage of these devices? Firstly, it’s the touch. Do you remember the first time you had a go on an interactive whiteboard? There was a slight hesitation and concern about ‘getting it wrong’ but once understood there was no holding back. Even without any special software, this tool had the potential to open up learning in the classroom. Now an IWB is considered an essential part of the classroom.

The same applies to tablets. Once children get used to using them in class they will not be able to turn away – they will be considered a prerequisite to learning in the 21st century. However, these devices will not take over learning. There will still be a place for books, pens, pencils and junk modelling.


Basic benefits

If you have owned a tablet device you will have, in all likelihood, downloaded a whole range of gimmicky applications, or apps. Apps are small programs with a highly focused use, such as a game or magazine or office tool. My experience is that once you have used these apps a couple of times the chances are you will default to a basic set. Typically these include:
  • Internet access
  • e-book reader
  • basic text editing tool
  • e-mail
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