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Opinions: Tablets in the Classroom

We asked people from a range of backgrounds, including students, teachers, and technologists in industry about their thoughts and experiences on working with tablet devices the classroom.

Opinions were diverse. While some believe that mobile devices should be left out of the classroom as they are distracting for students, others believe that teachers require a more open mind when it comes to technology in the classroom.

Most agreed that tablet devices have the potential to play a positive role in schools, but that we aren’t there yet. In order to get us there, teachers need more training in how to meaningfully use technology in their teaching. In addition to training, some also stressed the importance of ongoing support. When devices break down teachers need support to troubleshoot these issues otherwise it disrupts student learning. This requires ongoing investment from schools, rather than simply an upfront initial investment in purchasing the technology. Interactive whiteboards in schools were cited as an example of where technology has been implemented by schools without long-term support.

One of the most contentious issues is the potential for devices to distract. Most ‘somewhat agree’ that they often do so, though opinions were spread across the spectrum. So, how do we make sense of this? What are your experiences? Is solving this a matter of changing the design of the device, or is it in how it is used and supported in the classroom?

If you could change one thing about the design of tablet devices for education, what would it be?

Below are visualisations of the survey results:

Plots of survey results
Q1: tablet devices (TD) current play a positive role; Q2: TDs have the potential to play positive role Q3: TDs often distract students

 

Plots of survey results
Q4: TDs enable new ways of learning Q5: teachers need more training to take advantage of TDs, Q6: TDs need to be better designed to support education

 

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