Sunday, February 24, 2013

Too cool for school: 10 reasons why tablets should NOT be used in education

1. Do pupils buy them? NO

I'm writing this on a laptop. I have an iPad but wouldn’t dream of using it for research, note taking, writing or business. It’s used in our house as a sort of look-up device, more ‘search, see and watch’ than ‘write, create and work’. My kids never use it. When I asked them if any of their mates had bought one, they laughed. No way, “Well pricy for what it is – they all have laptops”. They want something for Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, email, sound/video editing, games, coding and bitorrent. Of my two sons, one has a Macbook, the other a juiced up PC. I never use my iPad as I’m mostly writing and communicating – it’s just too awkward and limited.
2. Do students buy them? NO
Beyond school, college and university, students seem to prefer laptops, again for note-taking, essay writing and so on. They want the flexibility of a full-milk computer, not a ‘look-good’ consumer device. Our lecture halls are not full of tablets. Students research, communicate and, above all, need to write substantial amounts of text, even code. Tablets don't do it for them.
3. Do employees use them? NO
Then there’s the workplace. I’ve yet to see a workplace that has decided to standardise on iPads or tablets, unless it’s for esoteric reasons around ‘agency’ image. Again, at work, people want full-milk, networked computers that allow them to do functional tasks, quickly. When I see an iPad in the workplace it’s usually in the hands of an older person at meetings, where they finger-peck notes (slowly), struggle to download documents and spreadsheets, and are often the very people who demand paper copies of all the working papers before the meeting. I’m happy with my £299 netbook and no paper.
 So why this rush to get iPads and tablets into schools?
Putting aside this buying evidence, why the obsession with iPads? I don’t buy the arguments and wouldn’t buy the kit. If, like me, you see education as producing autonomous people who can create a life where they feel confident with technology, gather skills in its use and get the most out of it at home and work, an iPad or tablet is an odd choice and here’s why….
5. Writing
Core to primary, secondary and tertiary education is the basic skill of writing. Children need to be encouraged to write a lot to learn, whether it is note taking, assignments, reports, data manipulation, creative writing or essays. Touch-screen keyboards are awkward with high error rates and the process of storing, networking and printing from iPads is tortuous. This takes us back to the Victorian slate, indeed it is worse than a slate. I have one and find it easier to write on the slate than type into an iPad. Interestingly, you may hold young learners back from writing by providing a device that is so hostile to its creation. To respond by saying that you can buy keyboards for tablets is to admit defeat. It’s saying tablets only work when you turn them into laptops. And the additional costs?
6. Creative work
Tablets are for content consumption, laptops content creation. Just because things look good on an iPad doesn’t mean they’re easy to make on an iPad. The tools of creation in most trades and areas of art and design are very different from the tools of delivery. Try using Photoshop or Illustrator or 3D Studio on a tablet. Try doing pixel by pixel selection, layers and pinpoint adjustments. The screen is simply not big enough for this sort of work. It’s a hand held device not a working tool. Tablets are rare in the world of work and the writing, keyboard skills and skills with tools you may need in the real world of work are unlikely to be learnt on an iPad.
7. IT/ICT/Coding
Whatever the aims of learning IT/ICT/coding in schools, I don’t think the iPad or tablets are appropriate. Learning how to manipulate a spreadsheet on an iPad is painful. Learning to code, ridiculous. Who in their right mind would use touchscreen to code, which involves lots of detailed writing, deleting, inserting as well as a more open environment.
8. Consumer not learning device
Above all, the iPad is a CONSUMER device, read not write. It has a role in learning, especially with pre-school and early years children but beyond that there is no serious argument for large scale investments in tablets. The proof is that when real school kids and students buy computers, they do not buy tablets. They buy computers, netbooks and laptops.
9. Teacher unfriendly
Here’s a school that swapped its laptops for iPads and wantsto switch back, the staff room is full of regret and teaching problems were clear. Technically they proved a nightmare. Many teachers and teacher resources are in Word and Powerpoint, which has proved a problem in some schools. Some teachers have had to resort to remoting content, leaving you open to connection problems. There were also problems with the iPads 4:3 output on screens and web/proxy filters. But the big one is storage and the lack of a USB port. This means using more complicated methods such as Dropbox with all the attendant problems. It is not a teacher-friendly device. Without a deep understanding of software and teacher-needs, the advantages for learners may go unrealised.
10. Expensive
iPads are expensive to buy and repair, and are difficult in terms of networking and peripherals. They are designed to be used casually in the home, not in school, the lab or classroom. This is born out in Honywood Community Science School, a recently formed Academy, that bought 1200 iPads at a cost of £500,000 where half are now broken. So there’s a real question over the robustness of the technology in a school and in school bags, where they get knocked, dropped and scratched. What’s more, 20% of those sent for repair were on their second trip, some on their third. Although parents were asked to pay £50, the devices cost £400 each and there seemed to be a problem with getting pupils to look after something which they hadn’t bought. The true cost, when one adds actual repair costs will prove very high indeed.
Vanity projects
A very knowledgeable person, who attended a high-level Government meeting that arranged to get tablets into schools, told me that it was painful and shambolic. The school got its donated tablets from the global IT company and they were duly delivered to the school, where the Headteacher hid them from the teachers. The whole exercise was a case study in how NOT to use technology in schools i.e. buy a load of cool kit, deliver it in boxes and hope for the best. This is the danger with tablet projects, the driver is rarely a full needs analysis on the most appropriate technology and that people are driven by Apple hype or Apple fanboy advisors. We need to avoid bandwagon, vanity projects that assume what’s consumer cool for adults is cool for school.
I’ve spent the whole of my adult life encouraging the use of technology in learning but want to make sure that we don’t repeatedly shoot ourselves in the feet with projects that have not taken the above seven points into consideration. To be honest I’m not at all sure about shoehorning technology into classrooms. Let teachers teach or if you do introduce this stuff – use a good portion of budget for teacher training.
Good technology always has an allure and iPads have tons of allure, but it’s an allure that appeals to adults not children. I can see a use for tablets with young children 3-9 and perhaps in special needs. Once beyond the basics of play, the iPad is a luxury that schools cannot afford. Neither are they desirable in terms of the type of learning that schools largely deliver. These initiatives are often technology and not learning-led.
Note that this is not an attack on iPads and tablets. I bought one and like it. It’s a set of arguments against their use in education. Learners at school, college and university do not buy them with their own money. Neither do they use them when given the choice. Even if they were provided, they are largely inappropriate for writing, tools, IT/ICT/coding and other curriculum tasks. That’s because they are essentially output, not input, consumer devices, read not write, with an emphasis on consumption, not creation. Teacher friendly they are not.
I'm conscious that I may be missing something here and keen to hear about research on actual improvements in attainment, as opposed to qualitative surveys and questionnaires.


Andy Tedd said...

Good linkbait ;-P

Your kids are getting older now though aren't they? And perhaps a bit contrarian and not wanting to be part of the herd (now - where could they get that from?)

My 8 year old daughter loves hers, she gets that it's different to a PC though, and often uses both at the same time.

EG how to's and cheats and knowledge finding on youtube/wikipedia on the iPad, more complex games or even homework on the laptop.

Steve Smith said...

In addition iPads do not run Flash and many sites do not work properly on them. Notably, in MFL, the Hot Potatoes software, widely used for interactive grammar and comprehension exercises, only functions partially. I agree that the iPad is a great browsing consumer device and I am wedded to mine, but I would not choose it for an MFL department.

Donald Clark said...

Andy - exactly - search, see and watch on iPad, do on laptop.

Good points Steve - make that arguments 8 & 9!

Mark said...

Right on as usual Donald. My problem with hardware/tech side is that investing in it allows to ignore the tougher software/design/change side of the equation. Back in 1999 Robert Darnton wrote a piece for the NYTimes Review of Books on the future of the book...we still gotten to where he was talking about in terms of information design...there is so much we could do with what we have but we have no requirements analysis to get us out of "oooh shiny mode"

betakarel said...

argument 7 surprises me.
Which innovation is teacher-friendly? There isn't any.

I like your blogpost anyhow. Education is about creation. When tablets ate too far away of creation we should think twice before we implement e new doses of tablets.
Or . . . educate our teachers properly, so they can use those tablets accordingly.

It's all in the education.

Unknown said...

I agree. Like you,I have one. I am really pleased with it.

The rush to get them into schools reminds me of the push for interactive whiteboards a few years ago. Much money spent on them and most teachers were left scratching their head about how to actually use them interactively. I remember trainers/evangelists painting a picture of the pupils coming down and 'interacting' with the boards. The reality was they were quite 'knacky' to use, especially if the pen refused to calibrate properly.

What we had left were boards to project onto. Now these were useful but this was an expensive way to buy one.

Donald Clark said...

This is right Francis. I've written a lot about this. Awkward technology that's introduced with inadequate planning, procurement, training or evidence that it works. Computers used as projectors. Huge waste.

Michelle said...

I'm always puzzled by people who "pronounce" tablets (iPads or whatever version) as CONSUMER devices. I work at school where every child has one, and they CREATE with them every single day. They write, create digital stories (from pics and videos they take WITH the iPads), compose and produce their own music, and much more.

While I don't believe tablets are for everyone, I do think it's irresponsible to pass judgment on any tool without more information. Have you contacted multiples schools using tablets successfully?

One of the things that makes me most proud of my students is that they know which tools to use for which project, and they're only 8-10 years old. Additionally, they surprise me often by the things they devise to show their learning on their iPads.

Is note-taking really that important of a skill anymore? How is that any more CREATIVE than consuming from a webpage? My kids are using mindmapping tools on their iPads to sort the information they're learning. Much more helpful than simply typing notes.

If you would like some more information as to how some schools are using tablets in creative ways, I'd be glad to talk to you.

Stephanie Ray said...

I find all of these interesting arguments, but the writer omitted one vital role of tablets - reading! Of course they should be used in education. Tablets will be the go-to reading device for not just consumers, but students too. Enabling a child to not lug 10 textbooks around on their backs is an innovation. There are also, nascent and emergent technologies using collaborative reading and teaching modalities with tablets, as well. So while I agree with the writer that laptops retain their value for writing and research, cuddling up with a good... laptop?... did not innovate on the printed textbook like tablets are doing.

Donald Clark said...

Michelle I make the point in the post that young children are an exception. I'd encourage people to buy an iPad for young children and have one myself.

I'm not against iPads in certain contexts. I just think they're inappropriate when these children have to move on to using real tools to create in a way tat is relevant to real world tasks.

Donald Clark said...

Michelle - I'd be interested in your case study as I may ahve underestomated tehir use in primary school. Can you provide details - type of school. numbers, costs, uses?

Karen said...

Just another perspective: I'm currently writing my dissertation. My iP@d has been an invaluable tool for reading and doing extensive note-taking on articles, drafting chunks of writing, brainstorming, keeping up with email related to my work, etc.

Integrating it into my workflow has taken lots of thought, planning, and exploring of apps. I suspect that clarifying the role of the iP@d in the work of the classroom may be a missing piece in the implementation of K-12 iP@d use.

Seiple Sensei said...

Some of the arguments in this thread make a strong case for tablets as a complimentary device more than as a primary one. As a middle school teacher, I don't see how tablets are practical in developing in-depth writing skills. Even at the elementary level, many of the tablet applications for content creation are not applications students can mature with and carry with them to the upper grades. I also think elementary school students might be better served learning the gateway skill set of typing which will enable them to develop more sophisticated and purposeful application uses in their educational journey.

Mrs Menzy said...

I have to say that I like your thinking but disagree with the statement that tablets do not belong in schools. Today I worked with fourth graders who researched using "diigo" a social bookmarking tool that allows them to highlight and annotate text on the web. They then went on to Edmodo where they posted their thoughts with textual evidence from what they read.

I think any tool can be relevant or irrelevant to the classroom depending on the audience and user. If the teachers do not have enough background knowledge than they will struggle to comprehend the tool.

I would not completely rule out iPads in the classroom. However, I do think that tools that lack the ability for creation in the classroom should be reevaluated. We need to stress to our students that technology is for enjoyment, engagement AND learning!

Russell Mason said...

I'm an educator and Masters candidate and use a range of tools on a daily basis. My iPad travels with me everywhere and is used on a daily basis along with my fully-speced laptop and netbook.

I research, communicate, collaborate and create on my iPad. I have no problem capturing text, images, video from the web; annotating; converting; assembling and emailing from my smallest device.

One of the great advantages is that all of my work is immediately synced to my other devices including my iPhone for true mlearning access.

In the classroom I use facial recognition to snap my class and take attendance; I video group activities and presentations; I audio record meetings while typing context into evernote or one note.

With abundant free WiFi, my students can access learning materials and recorded lectures where-ever and whenever they choose.

My tablet is fully integrated into my personal and professional life and has replaced the three Rs with the three Cs. The more you learn about them, the more you undersstand the possibilities.

Donald Clark said...

Mrs Menzy Not much of a problem with primary school but when serious writing and creation is in order, more serious tools, as you suggest, may be required.

Donald Clark said...

Russell - I too have an iPad, netbook and other computers but use the netbook for writing and sophisticated tasks. I'm just curious as to why do you have a netbook and full spec laptop? Surely horses for courses?

Donald Clark said...

Wotan - seems about right to me - balanced points about moving on with skill sets in learning. I really do agree with your 'gateway skill' argument.

Clark said...

Donald, generally love your posts, but think you've missed a major point here. Students shouldn't be sitting with laptops in class, they should be interacting. They can and should be using tablets to capture thoughts, snap pictures and videos, and moreover, get out of the classroom and out and about. That's much more valuable than sitting in the classroom writing. Save the hard media editing, coding, and writing for the home. I've a post coming out tomorrow at that elaborates, but even beyond K6 (which you acknowledge) tablets or pocketables make more sense in the school, and laptops or desktops at home.

Wild Bill said...

What are the three C's as mentioned by a commentator versus the 3 R's? Thank you.

Dook said...

Most of the negative press I have seen so far about the use of iPads in schools (it will appear with other tablets too eventually) is not down to it being a consumer device or not suitable for writing, but the schools involved have got no idea how to plan for any change in technology.

Too many schools try to directly substitute ALL of their existing curriculum over to it when there are always going to be examples of where there is no clean fit.

I wouldn't move a school from where each class is allocated by age (the traditional year system) to where each class is constructive by ability without significant planning, so why some schools think they can just parachute ANY tech in with minimal thought is just beyond me.

Rather than saying that they can't / shouldn't be used perhaps it is a better idea to look at all the requirements a school has, then look across the range of tools available, across all technologies, and then evaluate impact against investment.

This needs to take into consideration cost around support and training (where needed), redevelopment of appropriate learning materials, changes in models around pupil progress and a healthy awareness of that technology is not a quick fix for any problem a school has.

I think a title of "7 reasons why tablets should NOT be used in education without careful thought and planning" would be more accurate.

Unknown said...

usually agree with you Donald, and although and though you make some very valid points in in 5 - technical issues and 7 the vanity project; but these can and will be overcome. Perhaps you could also have referenced the ‘lock in’ to the Apple’s ecosystem.
Overall though, I do not agree with the general thrust but having said that; I do think this post is essential reading and will provide a great deal of productive discussion and perhaps move us away from a polarised stance. I think the consumer/producer aspects of technology is an oversimplification and this binary does not really exist- it’s much more complex often involving both taking place at the simultaneously.

Therefore I’d like to pick up on this from your comments?....... "Not much of a problem with primary school but when serious writing and creation is in order, more serious tools" really - so they get serious pens and paper at Secondary school. Seriously though; are we saying learning at primary school is not serious; or indeed to to be taken seriously?

suspect there is probably more ‘creation’ taking place at primary than in secondary where a lot of time is spent following rigid exam syllabi often involving rote learning and memorisation. Subjects are timetabled into discrete time slots and carried out in regimented spaces, whilst the ‘creative’ subjects have been ‘relegated’ to a sideshow. Dilettante window dressing to give the impression of a broad and liberal education.

Donald Clark said...

Dook - fundamentally correct. As I said in the post "This is the danger with tablet projects, the driver is rarely a full needs analysis on the most appropriate technology". Too many projects have failed to do an adequate analysis of real needs - pedagogic and technical. Lot of vested interests here, which is why much of the 'research' is qualitative - surveys/questionnaires etc. and not attainment.

Donald Clark said...

Theo - lock-in to Apple Ecosystem was in my original list. This simply raises the costs of maintenance and given the fact that kids will encounter a largely non-Mac world in the workplace, perhaps an issue on relevance.
I definitely made a mistake in using the word 'serious' but I think my general thrust remains valid, that once you start to use more complex tools for more complex and deeper learning, tablets become more of a hindrance than help.
The 'consumer-producer' distinction has some weight as Apple have designed and positioned the iPad to be a consumer device. They haven't dropped Macbooks for the work/task based user.

Christopher Waugh said...

Thanks for this contribution to the discussion. As a secondary English teacher, I think most of your points have some validity - though some of the challenges stated are dependent on the deployment - for example I use the wordpress platform for the bulk of my student workflow and it's platform independent, open-source and free (and works well on an iPad).

I find iPads to be a good solution for the classroom, though, for one of the reasons you say they're bad. You note that a soft keyboard is not ideal for extended writing (again, I don't argue with this, it's not perfect) but as a content-creation device, the fact that it has geolocation, a decent HD still and video-camera, is wifi-connected and is very robust with a decent shell means that my students can use it for all sorts of content creation. Currently they're doing a project on investigative journalism and they're using iPads to create and edit video, audio and print journalism ( If you wanted to do this with a laptop you'd need at least a camera and likely also a microphone - and a lot of cables and batteries

The battery life of an iPad also means they're much better portable devices than many laptops - another real benefit in a busy classroom.

They have few moving parts. This makes them less fragile too, and their easy user configurability for the classroom via the configurator app also allows me to manage their deployment without having to have a tech degree.

I know people dislike the apple ecosystem, but anyone who has used an appleTV with an iPad (over and over again) will be able to tell you that sometimes apple's "it just works" philosophy can be a real advantage over the alternatives, in spite of the fact that it isn't what offices use.

They're not perfect - but for my bet, they're the most versatile of all the options. If I were to have my way, I'd be in a classroom of the kind that @edintheclouds advocates where there is a range of devices available and the students select the one that suits their needs at the time.

I'm in the middle of a trial with some objective measures in place (though, the only 'control' I have is another class without the facility with equivalent starting grades), so i'll let you know if I can demonstrate any reliable academic performance improvement over time.



Eric H said...

Many of the issues listed are iPad centric. Android and the latest Win8 tablets face far fewer issues, especially Win 8 tablets which can be intergrated with legacy Microsoft systems. Tablets will be the future, though many issues need to be overcome, and a comprehensive technology and eLearning strategy from central Govt, inc funding, is going to be required to make this less painfull. Our Govt is slow, S Korea and Singapore are ahead of us in this area, and it's not surprising that these are also the countries ahead of us in International league tables


Eric - Autology

mynameishenry said...

They are toys for consumption, with creation coming in the form of output from toy applications. And, yes, I am cross about the herd-like slobbering over tablets.

For the record, I am a proud tech nerd.

My smartphone is functionally better in most ways than any tablet I've used (all versions of iPad to date, Acer, Samsung, other). It fits in my pocket, it's fast and 'it just works'. It's not an Apple.

I have provided my family with 4 PC's, a netbook and smartphones. Homework/work and creation gets done on PCs, some homework on netbook, games on everything. iPad is used exclusively for games and shopping. Even browsing moves to PC when it gets 'serious' as whoever is using at the time will inevitably get frustrated enough to need a more usable device.

I think Public Enemy have explained it clearly enough already.

Spend your money on something more useful.

Take your wife out for an expensive dinner or two.

Unknown said...

Hi Donald,

I agree to one level, that iPads are rubbish, monotone, monochrome devices, but do not agree that we should throw all tablets out because of this.

In the not too distant future, laptops will have touchscreens. Sure, tablets are limiting in what you can achieve right now (I tried to copy/ paste between 2 google docs using the app, which is clunky as), but i see this as another OS. this is where iPads are one trick ponies, and have potential in conjunction with apple TV (to replace interactive whiteboards...), but have no extensibility..

Android, with its custom ROMs - (Kindle is android, nabi is android, android is open source so more to follow) means that 'tablets' can fit as many uses as the mind can imagine, and touchscreen technology will be used for its strengths e.g. tactile-ness, in conjunction with other hardware e.g. keyboards.

Also interesting to see how the new Windows 8 slate will work its way into the market. touchscreen has a long way to go yet, and we haven't seen the best uses yet (smart tables)

iPads, right now, are a waste of money, but then again, so were all the interactive whiteboards that teachers never knew how to use...


Donald Clark said...

Phil. Good points, well made. I'm not totally against iPads, as I mention in the post but as you say, they are of limited use in complex tasks.
However, if tablets add keyboards and mimic the functionality of netbooks and laptops, they are essentially netbooks or laptops. The problem, at the moment, is the rush to use iPads, without adequate analysis or preparation.

@jjash said...

We are not living in a one screen world. How many screens do you work with at one time? Our students now have available 4 screens to select from to suit the job. IPads, one of the four screens, are used extensively this year in our 3rd year of iPad use as creative tools. Apps such as explain everything are being used by the children.

Other points-

- Many businesses in Australia have taken on iPads as they are quick and portable for business people to carry around. (NAB)
-You are used to your keyboard but youngsters are not and will grow up in a world without keyboards.
- The iPad makes technology transparent so learning can occur. Netbooks on the other hand makes technology clunky.
- iPads require different work flows and are not just PC's in a tablet.

I have three screens on most times, phone, tablet and laptop. The latter is being turned on less and less. My desktop is never visited and collects dust.

We live in a many:1 world.

Donald Clark said...

When I 'work' I workon a netbookor laptop, not an iPad. So do my two 19 year olds - PC and Macbook. "Many businesses in Australia" - not convinced by this rather unusual statement but I have spent my whole life in business and the businesses I'm involved in do NOT use iPads as core working devices. Using aniPad to write a substantial piece of prose is clunky. Using an iPad to do serious coding, graphis and so on in downright impossible,

danw said...

Great discussion. Here is a post from Fraser Speirs with a thorough analysis of the appropriate use of Smartphones, IPads, and Traditional PCs...

We definitely need to choose the tool that fits our learning goals.

Andy Tedd said...

Here is some research on the use of Ipads in primary schools in Scotland. Key findings:

The ownership of a personal mobile device, like the iPad, facilitates many of the pedagogical aspirations set out in Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence framework.

The adoption of mobile technologies on a personal basis significantly increases access to technology for students, both inside and beyond school, with many attendant benefits for learning which include greater motivation, engagement, parental involvement, and understanding of complex ideas.

Personal ‘ownership’ of the device is seen as the single most important factor for successful use of this technology

Teachers are equally engaged by the use of a device like the iPad which has a low learning curve enabling them to use it immediately as a teaching tool and a learning tool for themselves

The use of the device is contributing to significant changes in the way teachers approach their professional role as educators and is changing the way they see themselves and their pedagogy

Parents also appear to become more engaged with the school and their child’s learning when the iPad travels home with the student

Donald Clark said...

Had read this research Andy and spoke to a number of people in Scotland who are not so positive. I'm wary of this hugely expensive qualitative research in terms of its methods and objectivity. The lack of comparators and judgements on costs are astonishing. It is easy to hand out shiny things and then ask people if they like shiny things. However, that's not really the point. The point is attainment. The one point in the report that said it all for me was the admission, which they almost present as a positive, that one school didn't have any internet access when the experiment started. This was how poor the planning was. As I say in the post. I'm fairly positive about tablets in younger children but have serious doubts about their use beyond primary school.

Mark Aberdour said...

Hi Donald

Just a note on your comment re not seeing tablets in the workplace, I find that really surprising. I see them both regularly and increasingly in the workplace, both at my own and my customers. In most meetings at least one person will whip out a tablet and use that for note taking, usually using something like Evernote which will automatically sync the notes back to their laptop/desktop. Often senior managers will have been provided an iPad but more junior and middle managers are likely to just bring their own tablet, whether or not their workplace supports a BYOD policy. People are just doing it, ask them why and they say it makes them more productive.

The key is that a tablet is not a replacement for the desktop computer or laptop, it's complementary to it. We live in a multi screen world, and the tablet has a place for certain tasks, just like a smartphone and a desktop/laptop do.

Btw, I have no issues with typing at all, I type just as fast on my tablet, but then the Nexus7 supports super-quick swipe typing which is just amazing to use and very accurate. Maybe it's harder on an iPad and you have to "finger peck" like you say. That seems like a pretty sub-standard user experience to me, would have thought Apple would have sorted that by now.

Totally agree that tablets are not for creation. Although my kids love making videos and music on it. But for professional use, no way. And definitely not for document writing, as basic stuff like track changes and commenting won't work on a tablet. But most of my blogging is done on tablet using Evernote,  as I will build up a post gradually over time. I find a tablet fine for shorter articles, now that I can type quickly on it.

As for their place in learning, they are fantastic devices for capturing experiences, whether audio, video or photos, and submitting these as parts of assignments or portfolios. For capture, consumption and communication a tablet is a fantastic learning tool, but for creation is quite limited.

Jason said...

We just rolled out iPads to our 15 year old students. Previously this year level received net books. These are the changes I've noticed.
The teachers are delivering more tasks aimed at the pointy end of the SAMR model.
They are far more robust than the net books we've had.
They are used far more than the net books.
Teachers that previously didn't use ict now use it regularly because of the spontaneity of the devices with instant start up and mobility
Students are checking their class online spaces more regularly
Video and imagery are being used more effectively.
Every student I've spoken to except one says they prefer iPads.
The apps are generally very intuitive and therefore the students and teachers are more willing to just jump in and use them.
We have school net books and desktops when we need them but this is rare.

I personally prefer to use a notebook but it took me a while to realise that it wasn't about me and what I do. It's about using a mobile, robust tool that accommodates and greatly enhances a range of learning styles, is intuitive and allows the students to get on with learning. It also does this at a great price entry point.
This is the reality of iPads at our school.

Donald Clark said...

Jason. I really don't doubt your perceptions here but what's needed is a hard look at impact and attainment. This is the problem with the 'Hull' research. All interventions of this kind (laptops, netbools, whiteboards etc.) have those positive qualitative profile but few have proven rises in attainment. My own view is that introducing this type of tech into classrooms generally slows down teaching and learning. iPads, in particular, can give the illusion of learning when, in fact, it turns out to be surface and not deep learning. You may be right, I may be right. The way to find out is by good comparative trial work.

Elizabeth said...

When we judge the value of a tool based solely on our perspective of how we see a tool being used we limit the imagination of our students. While it can be difficult for some adults to type on virtual keyboards, others don't have a problem at all. I have never heard anyone under the age of 30 complain about the difficulty of typing on iPads or other tablets.

I came across a post the other day that touches on some of the wonderful things that can happen in classrooms when students are given the freedom to use iPads to both consume and create.

What it comes down to is that we need to use the tool that we are most comfortable with that allows us to complete the task at hand.

Unknown said...

I think it's just practical not to have it, what do you think?

Clive Buckley said...

As usual Donald some very valid points. Having said that I was very impressed by what I saw when I visited Casllwchwr Primary School in Swansea - they are doing some great things with iPads. (Worth a quick Google - try 'Simon Pridham LIFE')

SHort video

Donald Clark said...

Hi Clive
No problem with primary school use as I say in thepost " I can see a use for tablets with young children 3-9 and perhaps in special needs." Even there, however, kids of 10/11 enage with tools that are beyond the iPads ability to deliver.

42 said...

Fashion accessories :-) In the longer term everyone will use commodity devices to access the web. These are not likely to be ipads - too expensive. The branding doesn't matter but currently Chromebooks probably have the edge based on the principles of disruptive innovation. What is currently used in business is entirely irrelevant to schools kids. We should at least learn that lesson from history.

Ethan pearce said...

There are some interesting points in this article many of which as a student i agree with, however our university took the brave move to our school (mathematics and computing) all iPad mini's so we could access free of change books related to our course. which we all saw a brilliant idea, however most of my course including myself find the iPad bad to read on, for two reasons many, the books tend to be PDF's which render poorly on the iPad. The other reason being that the iPad has many distractions on it (games), which tend to very present in every lecture (from someone that sits at the back), so i believe the iPad's are anti-educational, they were free so we not complaining, but i found myself not using said iPad now as i find the laptop much better as while researching it is much easy to write the essay's. Tablet I.e the iPad and nexus 7 ect are good devices i have quiver's about that but they an entertainment device and nothing much more. I was however looking into buying a new tablet as laptops can be clunky to carry around, and what i found will work best is a Microsoft Surface, as this is the perfect tablet that both allows you to write but research with ease. So i think tablets do have a place but a special type of tablet, a Surface or surface like tablet that will become more common place in education.

virtual data rooms said...

Beyond school, college & university students seem to prefer laptops, again for note-taking, essay writing and so on. They want the flexibility of a computer, not a consumer device.

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