Experiment and Empower with Tablets

Tablets in the classroom. Image from indiatimes.
Tablets in the classroom. Image from indiatimes

With the mainstream immersion of the media tablet market within the past decade, and the everlasting concern over education, many are asking how these devices can benefit educational practices. Cause for concern is largely due to the generational gap occurring within industrialized nations. While older generations begin to enter the retiring community, younger generations are left to carry the load.

One solution to this issue is providing the youth of a country with the opportunities to become financially independent citizens, thereby providing governments with money to support retiring generations. In order to do so, nations must effectively tap into their youth, through education, in order to maximize their potential resources.

In every country, education is a privilege. Yet, privilege always creates a divide. Youth who are not readily able to access educational opportunities due to financial or location issues are commonly the ones who are on the lesser end of the divide. Nations with large amounts of these untapped resources are essentially wasting the opportunity for innovation and financial stability.

Introduce the media tablet and now every child can access affordable education with an efficient tool. Although the method is complex, investing countries could see an increase in resources and definitely a rise in support for the community.

While the challenge of overcoming this standstill mentality will be difficult to overcome, it is important  to consider the  overall benefits of enacting such dramatic change. Below are a few points supporting the transition:

  • Cost- 16GB tablets are estimated to cost around $100 by the year 2015. In comparison to the high price of first generation tablets, the eventual decrease in price will make media tablet technology  more accessible.
  • Efficiency- Due to a tablets small nature, and low maintenance requirements, the tablet can be used in locations where power sources are not reliable. Additionally, media tablets allow an array of content to be held in one compact location.
  • Endless Possibilities:  While the media tablet is an efficient tool for reading materials, the tablet can also expand its abilities to the extent of a full – fledged computer. Capabilities include: enabling students to participate in  collaborative projects, supporting remote education for rural children, and supporting specialized applications that cater to children with learning disabilities or alternative learning styles.
  • Business Opportunity: As Kishore Swaminathan, the Chief Scientist of management consulting organization Accenture, points out, in countries with centralized education and a large population of students, like China and India, the amount of money to be made is potentially phenomenal. High contract media tablet orders will continuously drive down the price of tablets, thereby making them more accessible by the purchase. Focus on serving students could ultimately create the emergence of education-centric Fortune 500 companies.

Although the concept of introducing media tablets into education sounds like a utopian idea, most countries would prefer not to consider it in fear that experimentation will occur at the risk of a child’s overall educational structure. While concern with experimentation is considerable, it is important to consider the rise of emerging families into the industrialized world, calling for attention towards the structures that educate our youth.

What is most important, of course, is not the device but the learning that supports–and is supported by–the device, as Joel Klein, leader of News Corp.’s education tablet program, attests.

All too often, the technology programs I observed seemed more focused on bells and whistles, gadgets and gizmos, than on improving learning. And in many school districts, teachers have been handed technology they either don’t think is effective or don’t know how to use. The last thing we need is just another pile of unused laptops in the back of the classroom.

For the full article, please see the News-Gazette’s piece on schools shifting from textbooks to tablets. Tablets have the potential to make learning better, but to do so, we need to help teachers learn how to teach with them.

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