Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tablets for Schools

Tablets have now become an in-thing for technology consumers with the launch of popular tablet brands such as Apple's iPad, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, and many other tech brands are coming up with their own tablets. My husband and I have also tried out these tablets when we purchased our Apad/iRobot, an Android tablet that looks like an iPad, and a Cherry Mobile Superion, which has almost the same features as the first version of the Galaxy Tab but for a lower price. Like most, if not all technologies, these tablet or tablet-like devices are making their way in the schools.

I remember learning about Senator Dick Gordon said during the campaign for Presidential Elections that he wants to distribute Kindle to all students in lieu of textbooks (see http://richardgordon.blogspot.com/2010/01/e-books-for-pinoy-studes.html). Kindle is considered more an e-book reader than a tablet device. But I also learned that St. Paul College in Pasig will be using Android tablet devices in lieu of textbooks (see http://www.yugatech.com/blog/toys-gadgets/the-st-paul-android-tablet-for-student-project/). And I read that a company called Brainchild has recently launched an Android tablet e-book reader designed for education called Kineo (see http://schoolcio.com/ShowArticle/36382), but I believe this is only available in the US.

Using such devices look promising. However, there are certain issues that need to be addressed in order for such devices to work well in schools, some of which were mentioned in the St. Paul Pasig Android tablet article in yugatech.com. Do these devices have enough content, i.e. have textbook publishers agreed to digitize the textbooks? It's very likely that these devices will be customized for use in the schools. Are the teachers ready to use these devices for instruction? I hope the teachers will get training on how these devices will be used and maximized for teaching and learning. How will these devices be secured to make sure that they will not get stolen or lost? These devices are valuable, and I believe schools need to institute policies to secure these devices. How about support? I believe schools that will adapt the use of tablet devices should carefully plan on how it will be implemented.

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