Why is someone interested in the possibilities of using tablets or pads in education? Well, it’s novel. New technology and tools that let’s the user access and do stuff with digital data in new ways is interesting. Combine this with the ongoing trend of developing pedagogical practice by the use of new tools in education and you have it. At the BETT 2011 fair in London the Ipad was present and attracted some attention. What seemed then to be the main points of interest in these devices was
- The touch interface, i.e intuitive ways for children to process pictures etc.
- The mobility and lightweightness of the pads
- The brand
Starting from the end, the third point is not as unimportant as it may seem. If users have a prejudice wired towards the positive, half of the challenge of successful deployment is taken care of. The second point has to do with the limitations of netbooks and laptops, at least to some degree. It’s hard to say exactly why, but it definitely looks as if the pads are more easy to work on, say, standing up. Their batterylife was also said to be good. The first point is the main point however. It’s said that the pads touchscreens invite children and adults alike to do stuff.
We are going to have a closer look at these and other points now. For the coming months, I’ve commited myself to a little pad/tablet research job with the aim to gain some understanding about what makes these things wonderful, useless or, most likely, something more relative to the envisioned contexts of use. I will not be testing an Ipad, but pads running android 3.0.1. Why? Good question, let’s just say it’s much more interesting for us to see what an open source solution can bring to this. Here is what I’ll try to figure out:
- What part of a teachers job can be done with a tablet?
- How do the web -based some programs that students and teachers use behave on a tablet?
- What cases of successful or unsuccesful uses of tablets can be found on the web?
- If I where back in school as a teacher, what would I do with a tablet and what could I imagine my colleagues do with them
- If I were a the headmaster / IT -planner for a school and had the money, would I invest in pads or not.
- Ideas for software development for these things
I will publish my findings and musings in this blog and naturally welcome any comments and hints.