Friday, 18 May 2012

Tablets: Finally a technology for the classroom

I wanted to blog again as it's been a while.  Amongst all the different facets of my work recently, the area that is most stimulating my thinking is ipads and the potential of tablets in formal education.

I feel strongly that tablets have the potential to have really positive impact on our formal education in the classroom.  Internet based technology have a duel function within formal education.  Use within the classroom and as the hub of activity for homework assignments.  Now with tablets and the excellent ipad, we finally have a technology with the potential to widespread use in the classroom.  It's in the classroom where technology can truly be blended into the learning design.  Homework is fine but formal education is 99% face-to-face.  Rightly or wrongly, this is our reality.  And technology that can fit seamlessly and unobstructively into this environment is what is needed.  Ipad provide this.

Within my training event 21st Century tools for teaching and learning, I don't really talk about the context for use but I'm aware that widespread use of the internet within the classroom is difficult logistically for most educational institutions with current hardware.  The only way it can work within the classroom is within laptops/notebooks - until now. 

I'm started to find blogs reflecting on ipad trials (e.g. and  I'm going to keep and eye on these as I start this new strand to my learning process.  Now I own one myself I was try educate myself on the apps.  The apps are the focus but use of internet tools not packages in apps should not be ignored as ipads are an excellent browsing tool.  The key affordance is the potential for engagement - annotation, highlighting, interaction, creation etc.  So dynamic content can be created, delivered and actively engaged with by each student.

I see this as an introductory post on a subject which should occupy my thinking over the coming months so plan to explore different aspects in future posts. 


  1. Seems like interactivity isn't going to be any better with ipads than any other tiny device students stare at in a classroom. Books don't help interactivity...they are in fact the antithesis of it. So, don't expect a printed medium to offer interactivity. For what it might be worth, a single big screen students can view collectively still seems to be better in that regard.

  2. Hi Zagoria,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. This is exactly the kind of debate I welcome. I agree with you that books don't help interactivity. However, a tablet is not a book - a kindle is but not a tablet. Tablets are all about interactivity. You might be interested in this webinar from the excellent EdTechTeacher community - It talks about the affordances towards activity reading and towards annotation when engaging with content on the ipad. This is not to mention the communication and collaborative potential. I wouldn't advocate technology that duplicate the static content already delivered through textbooks and the whiteboard.

    Having said all that, I have a lot to learn about practical implication of tablets. I intend to share my learning here. More comments welcome.

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