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Tablets in the elementary classroom

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Michelle Foley

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Tablets in the elementary classroom

Tablets in the elementary classroom
What is a tablet?
Tablets are fast becoming the new must-have educational tool in classrooms. Smaller and more portable than a laptop, but with the same software and tools available, it is easy to see why tablets are so popular in and outside of school. The ability to engage young students, individualize instruction and connect students at the same time has had many school districts eager to shift their focus from textbooks to tablets. Apple's iPad is the leader in the field of education, having sold over 8 million of their tablets to education institutions world-wide (Etherington, 2013).
Why should I use a tablet in my classroom?
Your students are already using tablets in their free time; you may even use a tablet to read e-books or take notes during staff meetings. Kids have embraced the tablet and smartphone technology wholeheartedly, and are skilled at navigating around a tablet. So the question, is why aren't you using tablets in your classroom? Tablets have become commonplace in higher education institutions, and are slowly catching on in K-12 schools. Integration of technology is a major goal for many school districts, and the tablet offers a cheaper alternative to a computer. The touch screen is more intuitive for students, and it can replace a bag full of novels and textbooks.
Integrating the tablet into
Any number of electronic books can be downloaded onto a tablet, providing near limitless and instant access to any published book. Electronic books provide an individualized reading experience where students can highlight text, look up definitions with the push of a finger and quickly turn to particular pages.
There are many apps available for students to create responses to their readings: they can 'draw' a visualization of something they've read, create a reading response using a graphic organizer with capacity to add boxes as needed, or create a drawing depicting the main theme of the book and record a voice note to explain it.
With a tablet, teachers can achieve both literacy as well as technology curricular goals, cutting teaching time down. .
Pros of the tablet in class
-cheaper than a computer; software called 'apps' can be purchased on the spot from the device itself without having to purchase and install it yourself
-there are thousands of educational apps available for purchase; schools and teachers can pick and choose which ones suit thei needs
-save money by combining a number of tools in one device: calculator, writing implements, word processor, and camera
-integrates easily with existing school IT infrastructure with its cloud-based computing
-a tablet switches quickly and easily between applications, making it ideal for multi-tasking students
Cons of the tablet in class
-potential to be distracting: students can wander onto other websites which are off-topic
-they are meant to be personal devices: cannot use logins or save personal information if they are to be shared
-expensive if your goal is for all students to have access to their own individual tablet
-there is no USB drive to save work or transfer files to another tablet or computer
-without a wireless keyboard, it is difficult to write with and is better suited as a content viewer
Integrating the tablet into
tablets can also be useful as a math teaching tool-it is a calculator, textbook, worksheet and graphing machine.
apps are what make the tablet stand out as a math tool:
-Splash Math is a comprehensive math workbook that is fun and engaging for primary students
-Mathboard give students options such as choosing number range and time limite while solving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems
Which software and apps are suitable?
Dropbox: this file storing app eliminates the need for a flash drive; students simply save their work to their personal dropbox account and can access it from any computer or tablet

Writepad: this app converts your handwriting to readable text when you use a stylus or finger. Great for those that prefer writing to typing
Evernote: this app replaces a diary or notebook. You can enter reminders, to do lists and homework either by text or by voice
Questions to ponder....
1. Do you believe tablets have a place in todays'
elementary schools?
to what extent do you think tablets should be used
in class? In all subjects or simply as a technology
add in occasionally?
2. Should tablets be the primary instructional tool?
this will depend on whether or not your school can even afford to provide tablets to each student; if so, is this something you see as beneficial or is it another novelty item that will lose favor with educators eventually?
3. Do you think tablets are improving student outcomes?
or are they just a different means to the same standard
we've already established?
For further reading and references...
1. 'No Child Left Untableted' - looks at the corporations pushing
tablets for education http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/magazine/no-child-left-untableted.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0
2. 'How Tablets are Invading the Classroom' - explores the different types
of tablets and why they are good for school use http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/tablets-invading-the-classroom/
3. 'Exploring the Use of the Ipad for Literacy Learning' - a case study of teachers using ipads specifically for literacy http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/TRTR.01090/pdf
4. '10 Excellent iPad applications for teachers' - lists some of the best iPad apps for teachers http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/03/10-excellent-ipad-applications-for-teachers/
5. 'How to Use Tablets in the Classroom' - describes best practices when using tablets in an elementary class. http://bugbrained.com/articles/How%20to%20Use%20Tablets%20in%20Classroom.pdf
6. 'iPads in Education: Implementation Stories and Lessons Learned- discusses how teachers and admin are prepared for tablet rollouts and next steps. http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/07/ipads-in-education-implementation-stories-and-lessons-learned-continued/
7. 'Technology in Education: the iPad a Game-Changer? - are tablets suitable for providing engaging real-world math instruction? http://www.extension.harvard.edu/hub/blog/math-teaching/technology-math-education-ipad-game-changer
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