Parents, teachers and schools are beginning it recognize the important
role that tablets can play in the classroom. When used correctly, tablets
can help students to learn and give them access to software and programs
that can speed development. Apple reports numbers as high as seven million
iPads in U.S. schools as the trend to place handheld devices in schools
gains traction with local school boards.
Studies show tablets work!
Studies indicate that when tablets are introduced into the classroom responsibly,
they have the potential to significantly enhance learning. A UK
study of schools using tablets and found a wealth of learning benefits, including
increases in student motivation, collaboration between students and teachers,
and collaboration among students themselves. Another
report found that using iPads helps high school students to understand more complicated
scientific concepts like time and space. Utilizing technology effectively
in the classroom is important if you are going to maximize its benefits.
Not for children under 12
It’s best to avoid using handheld devices in classes where students
are under twelve. According to the
Huffington Post: “The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of
state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5
years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to
2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010).”
These recommendations are based on studies that show that screen time for
children under two can be very damaging while too much screen time later
in life can slow development. However, if the child is older than twelve
and screen time is used prudently in schools, tablets can help to motivate
and encourage students to learn.
You can’t just tack tablets onto the existing curriculum; you have
to evolve your teaching to effectively incorporate handheld devices into
your class. If you don’t; it can turn out to be more of a hindrance
than a help.
The first step is to ensure that your students are safe. Install security
measures that prevent students from browsing unsanctioned sites and prevent
outsiders from accessing your school networks.
Train your teachers. When teachers don’t know how to effectively
integrate technology, it becomes a distraction and won’t add to
your child’s development. There must be a framework in place, security
protocols and structure in order for tablets to be effectively utilized
When students and teachers are trained and there is a structured approach
to technology, older students can definitely benefit from using tablets
in the classroom. They learn how to harness technology, and they learn
to collaborate, research and explore more effectively. The ‘gamification’
of functions like math and science encourage students to participate and
broaden their understanding of complex concepts.
If your school doesn’t use tablets yet, consider getting one for
your student to use at home to help with homework. This will entail you
doing some research and training so you know how best to implement and
control use. Remember to restrict screen time to suit your student’s age.