Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tablets Yes, E-Books Maybe

The article Tablets Yes, E-Books Maybe in today's Inside Higher Education reviews the status of tablets and e-books for college learning and includes student response to the possibilities. Data from large-scale student surveys show mixed reaction, but most students believe tablets hold the potential to revolutionize the way they learn. Check the article as well as the comments posted at the end, and also use the links in the article to access additional information. Then weigh in on your opinion about tablets and e-books and their place in higher education. How soon do you think tablets and e-books will replace paper textbooks, if at all? What changes do you think will occur in higher education for students in the future?


Tami said...

I believe that the iPad and other tablets could be a remarkable tool within the classroom. The iPad could replace the paper planners where assignments go, have student have quick access to their assignments if they forget to email them in or something, etc. However, the idea of reading a textbook from the iPad or other tablets doesn't sound that much fun as the products are made to be. I have to agree with the students in the survey that having a print copy of a text book is better. It allows your eyes to take a break from allows looking at a screen and give you the opportunity to write and highlight within the book where you have questions or found something interesting.

RyanCleary said...

I think that the idea of tablets replacing textbooks it really exciting, but I also think it is an unrealistic idea. The biggest reason I do not think this trend will catch on universally in our school systems is simple; money. This new technology is fantastic, but it also creates an elitest feeling. With an iPad costing about $500 and a school like the one where I work with about 400 students you are looking at a $200,000 pirce tag. Of course a school could save money by buying sets and rotating them through classrooms to save some money, but even so it is a large investment. Schools is low socio-economic status areas may not have the resources to acquire this technology. This could lead to a widening of the dreaded achievement gap. This gap already exists and is creating a large disparity between districts and even within districts. I have to admit that I totally see the value in using tablets as a teaching school. I just wonder how can we make the experience equitable for all learners?

Kelly said...

Many students thought having a tablet like the iPad would be useful and exciting to have. However, many do not even use them for the intended use they purchased them for, reading textbooks. I agree with those students who have chosen print copies of books over reading the textbook on a tablet. For me it gets frustrating staring at a computer screen for so long and prefer to read a large amount of text on a paper copy. I think this may the number one reason for the students surveyed as well. Tablets could be a useful tool if they are used for the right reason. I agree with Tami they would great for writing down homework assignments. A tablet would be more difficult to lose or forget at home.
Eventually, despite student and teacher interest I think everyone will be carrying around some sort of tablet and printed textbooks will be a thing of the past. With a push of saving the environment and using less paper tablets maybe the solution.

CFarls13 said...

I'm a pre-service teacher and I've been doing research on tablet computers. They are great and less expensive than the iPads for the classroom with basic ones costing around $160 versus the iPads $500 per student. You can still download textbooks and access the internet with the tablets. You could keep the tablets at school or loan them out with the idea that if students lose them for whatever reason, then they would have to pay the school the money that it would cost to gain a new tablet. Things can also be printed if students like myself prefer to have materials that they can actually manipulate as well.

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