Friday, 18 May 2012

Tablets: Finally a technology for the classroom

I wanted to blog again as it's been a while.  Amongst all the different facets of my work recently, the area that is most stimulating my thinking is ipads and the potential of tablets in formal education.

I feel strongly that tablets have the potential to have really positive impact on our formal education in the classroom.  Internet based technology have a duel function within formal education.  Use within the classroom and as the hub of activity for homework assignments.  Now with tablets and the excellent ipad, we finally have a technology with the potential to widespread use in the classroom.  It's in the classroom where technology can truly be blended into the learning design.  Homework is fine but formal education is 99% face-to-face.  Rightly or wrongly, this is our reality.  And technology that can fit seamlessly and unobstructively into this environment is what is needed.  Ipad provide this.

Within my training event 21st Century tools for teaching and learning, I don't really talk about the context for use but I'm aware that widespread use of the internet within the classroom is difficult logistically for most educational institutions with current hardware.  The only way it can work within the classroom is within laptops/notebooks - until now. 

I'm started to find blogs reflecting on ipad trials (e.g. http://ipadsontrial.wordpress.com/ and http://rossettschool.realsmartcloud.com/category/staff/ipad/).  I'm going to keep and eye on these as I start this new strand to my learning process.  Now I own one myself I was try educate myself on the apps.  The apps are the focus but use of internet tools not packages in apps should not be ignored as ipads are an excellent browsing tool.  The key affordance is the potential for engagement - annotation, highlighting, interaction, creation etc.  So dynamic content can be created, delivered and actively engaged with by each student.

I see this as an introductory post on a subject which should occupy my thinking over the coming months so plan to explore different aspects in future posts.