Pencils, Backpacks, and Perspective: Incorporating Tablets in the Classroom

     With technology constantly improving and becoming more intrinsic in our daily lives, it is hardly a surprise that education is changing to incorporate it. Increased flexibility and application abilities are leading many teachers and entire districts to incorporate tablets in their classrooms. In a recent EdTech Magazine article, Tracy Lewis, Director of Technology for the Gervais School District No.1 in Oregon, said, “We’re trying to reach kids on their level, and ­tablets are the newest, coolest thing.”

     Now, I have met many people in my life who were borderline scared of technology, all of the gizmos and whats-its that they couldn’t understand. But I think Ms. Lewis’ point is an extremely important one to make, as obvious as it might seem. A student will connect with and learn new information significantly better if it is taught in a way that relates to them. Technology is likely a big part of the lives of nearly every student in the country and ignoring the benefits it can bring to the classroom would be, in my opinion, a grave mistake.

     The teachers and administrators in this case study also bring up the idea that giving a student a device such as a tablet puts their learning into their own hands. Personally, with every new class I go into there is nothing more disappointing than reading the syllabus and finding: “Absolutely no laptops. Or iPads. Or any electronic devices. Period. Ever,” in all caps, bolded, and italicized for emphasis. The potential for distraction is present of course with these types of tools, but in my experience, I take away so much more when I can look up the definition of an  unfamiliar term a professor uses or find an image related to the current topic of discussion. Anything that will create more connections in my mind to the material is beneficial. And that is the power of a tablet.

     The days in which a student relies entirely on a teacher for gaining knowledge are fading. They’ll never go away entirely of course, but putting this kind of personalized technology into a student’s hands gives them a sense of ownership of their own education, a sense of responsibility which can only foster more passion for learning. The future has arrived in a certain sense and educators ought to take advantage of it, if only for the sake of their students.

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