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Why Tablets Are Making Their Way Into the Classroom

By Jennifer Thayer *
p-aula by Raul A. on Flickr
Every day more and more common tasks become technology driven, and as such, it is becoming increasingly important for students to be tech savvy. While a decade ago students would have been reprimanded for using a smartphone, palm pilot or other electronic console, tablets are now replacing pens and notebooks in schools across the country, and quickly becoming a must-have in the classroom.

Though some have reservations about reliance on technology, and the long-term effects of increased technology use among young people, the truth is that there is also an upside to students having access to tablets in the classroom. Here are a few reasons why tablets are making their way into the classroom.

They’re Portable

Spend some time in any middle school hallway and you’re bound to see at least one student whose back looks like it might break under the weight of eight classes worth of textbooks, notebooks, calculators and other supplies. Tablets are actually portable, making them easy to trek in between classes and to and from school. The other added benefit is that tablets hold everything a student needs, in one location. This means no more excuses for leaving assignments at home.

They’re Not Just About Games

Tablets and other handheld electronics get a bit of a bad reputation from earlier generations, as teachers are concerned students are just using them to play games or chat on Facebook. However, the educational app world is booming and students and teachers are reaping the benefits.

Visual learners can now watch videos to better understand concepts, rather than stare at pages of a textbook. Programs like Google Apps for Education are changing the education system as we know it. The program is cloud-based so teachers can have students can access emails, documents and calendar events from anywhere, making study sessions that much more productive.

Other great education apps include Video Science, which offers more than 80 hands-on lessons in short video format, Oxford Dictionary Picture Edition, which helps put definitions into context, and See.Touch.Learn, which is a modern version of flash cards. These apps will help teachers deliver educational material to their students in a more engaging format. There are thousands of apps available, and the best part is that many are free. The possibilities for teaching and learning are endless.

They Can Help With Developing IT Skills

Technology stops for no one, so it is important for students and teachers to do everything they can to stay ahead of the game. Using tablets and other technology on a daily basis can help students develop core IT skills that are becoming increasingly valuable in today’s job market, and most certainly in the job market of the future.

They’re Affordable

While some might be skeptical that tablets are an affordable option for teachers and students, the truth is that they’re not out of reach, and overtime, they may actually help schools and families save money. Schools spend thousands of dollars on electronic equipment like computers and laptops. However, tablets can be purchased for a fraction of the price. Take the Google Nexus 7 from T-Mobile for example; this tablet can be purchased for less than $200.

Not only does buying a tablet help schools save money on teaching supplies, it also helps families. Each year, parents spend hundreds of dollars on school supplies such as pencils, notebooks, textbooks, calculators and more. All of these materials can be replaced with a tablet.

Tablets have much to offer to schools and students. These are just a few of the many reasons why tablets are making their way into the classroom.

(*)Jennifer Thayer is a technology writer who loves sharing helpful ways people can utilize technology in their day-to-day lives. Follow her on Twitter to see what other tips she comes up with.

Education & Tech

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