Tablets like the new iPad 2 and Xoom with their ergonomic, lightweight, portable, yet big and powerful enough design, are a mainstay on the personal technology front. Individual tablet users blend entertainment with productivity, but as the technology develops and competition drives prices down, the business and industrial applications are limitless.
One ripe vertical for tablet technology is education. Text books are becoming an expensive and inefficient way to transfer knowledge in a school setting. Books are lost, damaged and outdating occurs if they are not replaced regularly, and there’s some inconvenience with lugging a backpack full of them (even though most of us have done it) to and from class every day. Of course, books will always have a place among the Kindles and iPads of the world, but considering all the possibilities, educators could certainly benefit from the immediate use of tablet technology.
Tablets would have to be industrial grade with access to an approved set of programs, but even replacing textbooks with digital files that students could access from a smartphone, PC, tablet, laptop or IP-enabled TV seems like a far more efficient solution. Budgets, loyalties and lack of understanding stand in the way for the immediate future, but even if the textbook lives on, there is strong evidence to support an increasing use of tablets for teaching.
Just recently, EmergingTech.com published a post, 10 Excellent iPad Apps for Teachers that is pretty self-explanatory. Utilizing several of the options with a number of iPad2 accessories and a larger monitor or projector, teachers would be able to present to an entire class with engaging high resolution graphics and audio/video support. IOGEAR can also play a role in the classroom with the new Wireless Multi-link Bluetooth Keyboard (GKM611B) which can serve as a convenient input device; allowing teachers to navigate the iPad interface and manage apps via touchpad or keystroke.
With budget issues, lack of understanding and a plenty of other hurdles in the way, widespread adoption of iPads or tablets in schools is not coming anytime soon. But, as teachers integrate more technology into the classroom, tablets will likely play an increasing role in the management and sharing of educational material.
Do you think iPads or tablets could ever replace text books? What are the biggest obstacles standing in the way? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.