Technology is all around us so much so that you are reading this on an item of the technological revolution: your phone, tablet, computer or laptop. Technologies influence is now making its way into the classroom. Pen, paper and whiteboard are becoming useless in a world of interactive whiteboards, smart devices and iPads, a teacher is now aided considerably. But is the use of iPads a help or a hinderance for the learning environment?
In 2014 the BBC released figures stating that 70% of British schools use tablets of some sort to aid the children’s learning. The tablets are being used to teach the national curriculum in new and exciting ways. From the preset apps such as calculator and clock to downloadable apps such as Show Me or PuppetPals HD, the tablets offer new and exciting ways for children to engage with education.
A tablet is immersive, interesting and interactive, they’ve even been described as a children’s toy, making is obvious why schools are adopting their use. The sheer number of apps, for each subject seems to make it a no brainer for schools to adopt their use. Not only this but the headteacher of the most improved school in the South East, Derek Trimmer, told the Telegraph that he feels the schools newfound success was due to the introduction of iPads. He feels that the students engaged more, and those who would usually be deemed ‘disadvantaged’ were learning at the same speed as everyone else.
Thinking practically the iPad is light weight, much lighter than a child’s book bag, making it much easier to take too and from school. Not only this but the iOS software enables easy web browsing, podcast listening, videos and eBooks. But is missing out the value of holding and reading a book worth the compact nature of the iPad?
But, the introduction of technology in the classroom doesn’t stop with iPads. Projectors for Physical Education lessons and Virtual Reality use in History lessons is making an huge impact within primary schools.
But, Sarah Payne, head pediatric Occupational Therapist for the NHS told the Guardian that the use of tablets is preventing children’s fine motor skills, as something as simple of holding a pencil trains this. Not just this, but the use of iPad’s may even restrict the child’s writing ability. It’s not only physical ailments which tablet use in schools seems to be changing. Dr Patricia Davies, senior lecturer at University of Wolverhampton told the Telegraph that teach with iPads means they become disinterested when the technology isn’t there. Her research found that although it is easy for them to use the technology, when it’s not there the children find it incredibly hard to concentrate. You can find out more on her research in her book, Enhancing Learning and Teaching with Technology.
Despite the perceived positives and negatives, using tablets isn’t accessible for every school or pupil due to the sheer cost per tablet. Schools may be looking at over £300 each for 16 tablets, for many institutions this isn’t a possibility. But this price may be necessary for the students to engage with their education within the world they live in.
For more on this see the below articles:
Thank you to www.schooltechnology.org – photos of elementary students using iPads at school to do amazing projects. Photo taken by Lexie Flickinger.