Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tablets and the Learning Factor

I often talk about the many different ways a tablet PC can be used for businesspersons in need of heightened productivity. However, one of the most intriguing aspects of the technology behind a tablet PC to me is how educators and parents will use the devices in spurring development in children.

Whichever device catches your eye, you must admit that Tablet PCs are perfect for the tactile, brightly lit learning that children enjoy so much. Picture books and educational software for old Macs have been the staple of many classrooms for decades, but today parents can get started much earlier with applications on Android (and yes iOS) that help their children learn to read and do figures, as well as enjoy the wonders of the natural world.

The Role of Technology in Education

I am not an educator but as a father I have many thoughts on how we can use technology in educating our children. I am aware that not all parents can afford to invest money into expensive tablet PCs for a three year old preparing to learn how to read. I am also aware that most children will become addicted to the intuitive touch and manipulate nature of most tablet devices.

But, I am still excited by the prospect of providing a device that can actually stimulate an interest in learning through fun, easy to use hands-on interaction. It’s something that will appeal to a much larger majority of children as well. Sure, some kids like to play with computers and some like to read books, not all.

Tablet PCs are an extension of a child’s creativity. From colouring book apps to tracing letters and being coached through simple sums, our children can be fully engaged with an electronic device without getting frustrated by not understanding how it works.

There are dedicated tablets starting to come out from manufacturers who see the promise of a touch screen education for our children. I don’t know if dedicated devices are necessary. Surely, if your budget better incorporates a $200 device with limited features for a child, that may be the only option, but I encourage parents to consider a different route. When considering a new PC that a child will have access to, think on whether a full-featured tablet is a good alternative. Not only will it allow for the same web access and homework assistance that a PC would, it will allow for fun, interactive learning experiences.

Already, we’re seeing some school districts and universities buying up tablets for use by students. They see the value of this kind of interaction with technology. It’s going to be an interesting next couple decades as they fully integrate into our lifestyles, and I hope to see my children poking, sliding, prodding, and best of all, learning the entire way. 

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