Wednesday, 29 August 2012

DIGITAL TABLETS OR NETBOOKS? (1/3) TECHNOLOGICAL MODELS FOR USE IN THE CLASSROOM

DIGITAL TABLETS IN THE CLASSROOM: TECHNOLOGICAL MODELS


Digital Tablets can be used in educational contexts as a alternative tool to netbooks. Like them, require to have  in the classrooms adequate Internet access and a digital whiteboard controlled by a computer (or laptop), where in addition to receiving explanations teacher's, students can share their work with the class to a review and correction  (see researches about the interactive whiteboard <http://www.peremarques.net/pizarra.htm>)

For the integration of digital tablets in the teaching and learning activities of schools, we consider four possible technological models, which are the same as those already identified (see researches about classroom 2.0 <http://www.peremarques.net/aulasticportada. htm>) for the use of netbooks in classrooms calls 2.0:

- Classroom of Digital Tablets. Tablets are arranged in a specific class (which will also have a interactive whiteboard and a computer support) and we moved students there when they should carry out any activity with the support of the tablets.

A teacher or technical specialist shall be responsible for the care and maintenance of equipment and management of the timetable where teachers make their reservations in advance of the classroom.

This model, which involves creating a classroom where technology resources are concentrated, we believe it can make sense when a center (to impart a specific subject, such as in Professional Training) needs to have a classroom with very high performance computers. However we consider it inadvisable when devices are digital tablets, much cheaper and, above all, easily transportable, because students should be moving between classrooms.

- Some Digital Tablets as a support for class. The classes have a few digital tablets, always available to teachers and students, which are used to make various individual and group work.
This model is convenient for teachers and students: the technology is already in the classroom and does not require moving to another classroom. However, as there is no one tablet for each student, while some students do certain activities with tablets, others must perform other tasks without this technology support.

It may be a good model for initial introduction of these devices in the centers. Thus teachers can take experience and are formed with easy  activities meanwhile students become more familiar with their educational possibilities and with the usage the rules to be respected.

Coupled with the possibility of having a digital tablet trolley when necessary, can be a good model for the childhood education and the first year of primary school.

- Digital Tablets Trolleys. The center has several trolleys with tablets (facilitating transport, storage and charging them), that teachers can move into their classrooms when required.

Generally each trolley (contain between 20 and 40 tablets) is assigned to some classrooms located in a specific area, minimizing displacements. For good service management, every trolley should have a teacher responsible for its care and maintenance (when no one uses the trolley it will be stored in his classroom), who also will manage the schedule table where other teachers will reserve the tablets for their classes.

This model, although that do difficult the improvisation of the activities with tablets (the trolley must be booked in advance) and is an inconvenience have to move trolleys between classes, prevents the movement of students between classes and integrates the instrument in the classroom context and educational activities when is necessary that each student could use a tablet.

- Digital Personal Tablet to each student. In our society today, where there is a ubiquitous Internet presence and we always have at our disposal one of these digital devices (digital tablet, computer, Smartphone ...), the school must train students to act in this context using these tools properly (as we do with the calculators).

We therefore consider advisable and increasingly necessary, to form the students considering that now in addition to paper, pencils and books, they also have always at their disposal one of these devices: digital tablet or netbook.

View our proposal about "curriculum bimodal" <http://peremarques.blogspot.com.es/2011/09/que-es-el-curriculum-bimodal-i.html> that besides updating the educational objectives, teaching methodologies and  system of students assessment ,  can contribute to a significant reduction of school failure.

In this context,  if we have the appropriate infrastructure in the classroom (Internet access, interactive whiteboard ...), the use of this technology  allow to apply a working model in the cloud (and off-line) with content interconnection between different devices (digital tablets, netbooks, smartphones, interactive whiteboard ...) and permanent communication network between students and education agents.

Within this forth technological model - each student has his own digital tablet - that we think should be the goal towards which centers should aim gradually, we consider two possibilities:

  • Tablets are property of the center and are stored in the classroom where the pupils can use them.
  • Tablets are property of each student; they move them every day from home to school like a book or notebook more in his backpack.


The best option in each case will depend on the characteristics of each school and the age of the students, but looking the future, each student will tend to have their own tablet ownership (as he has got his books and other personal belongings).

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