Can Tablets Help Improve Learning Outcomes for Children in Schools?

Written by Aara Jones
9 · 27 · 17
Can Tablets Help Improve Learning Outcomes for Children

More and more schools, in developed as well as developing countries, are introducing tablets in classrooms. They are using them as the primary instrument for delivering educational content. Experts say tablets are more efficient than textbooks and traditional learning activities. That’s because they provide a larger database for information, are more engaging and interactive, and are affordable. But, do tablets improve the effectiveness of the educational process and increase students’ ability to learn?

What about the apprehensions of several parents that exposure to mobile devices at a young age? Could they turn their children into zombies?

This article discusses the potential for these mobile devices to improve learning outcomes for children as well as some of the challenges that parents, teachers, and school administrators are grappling with as they strive to deliver education in more effective and efficient ways.

Benefits of Using Tablets in Schools

One of the benefits of using tablets in schools on which there is consensus is that tablets increase engagement between learners and the educational content. They are more interactive than textbooks and incorporate different forms of media. This leads to stronger engagement and receptivity to what people present using them. Studies have also provided evidence to support the claim that tablets lead to improved learning outcomes in several key areas. These include literacy, mathematical skills, and scientific concepts. Tablets allow children to learn and strengthen their concepts through online tutorials, apps, games and assessment tools, something that is not possible on such a large scale with traditional learning tools.

Another benefit of using these devices is that they place a very large trove of knowledge at the disposal of the students. A single tablet can store more information than hundreds of textbooks and makes even more accessible via the Internet. This makes accessing information on the tablet easier than searching for it in a book or a traditional library. All of these features help to make the learning process more efficient and seamless for the students.

They Are Affordable

Not only are these devices excellent repositories and transmission channels for knowledge, they are more affordable and convenient. When compared with other technological tools such as computers, tablets are more affordable for school administrations as well as parents. Children find it easier to carry a tablet to school than a load of books. This makes learning seem less cumbersome and painful to students.

Tablets are a useful instrument for delivering seamless educational experiences. By making learning materials and other educational content accessible from the cloud, children can use mobile technology to access lessons at home, on the bus, and at school. Online assessments that deliver feedback in real-time make the evaluation process more efficient. It also allows students to identify areas for improvement quickly.

Childhood Education

An important area where these mobile devices have recently shown positive results is in early childhood education. While research on the use of tablets in education has traditionally focused on secondary and tertiary education, recent studies have shown that they help to improve learning outcomes in kindergarten learners. This improvement is due to several factors. For instance, the touch-screen interface makes learning more accessible to children at a younger age. Which is a significant development considering that the children are at a stage where their motor skills are developing.

Another feature of these devices is that they promote learning via the use of multimedia content. They include games and interactive apps to deliver information. Tablets also come equipped with video players and cameras. They allow teachers to deliver content in the form of images, video and games.

Of course, for many parents, teachers and school administrators, the use of these devices represents a drastic shift in the way children learn, and, more importantly, in the way teachers conduct lessons. Many parents and educators are worried about children becoming too reliant on their tablets to access information and to do homework. There is also the risk of becoming addicted to technology, especially as more schools introduce the devices at the kindergarten level. The instant gratification to which young children become accustomed when using a tablet may lead to psychological and behavioral issues in their social and interpersonal relations as well.

Learning Challenges Overcome

From the learning perspective, there are some challenges that we need to address. For instance, teachers cannot rely on tablets as the sole medium of student evaluation and assessment. While the tablet may be a convenient tool to enter single-click responses to assessment questions, one may not use it effectively to respond to descriptive, analytical or reflective questions.

School administrators face the additional task of sourcing, evaluating and acquiring educational content. Such content is available online in the form of websites, eBooks, interactive tutorials, educational games, assessment tools, and learning apps for the entire curriculum. Several factors effect on learning outcomes need consideration before making any significant investment. Such as compatibility with the local culture and teaching methodology, costs of teacher training and supporting infrastructure, and

Teachers Can Be More Creative

Teachers need to get on board if mobile gadgets are to be useful successfully in the classroom. They need to develop ways in which they can incorporate the tablet in daily lesson planning and student assessment. They should get training so that they are familiar with the various features of the tablet and the online learning and assessment tools that they have to use. Most importantly, school administrators and parents need to devise ways to monitor the use of tablets.  This would ensure that students do not use tablets for non-educational activities. They need to invest in parental controls as well as filtering and detection systems. This would ensure that children do not access objectionable content on their mobile devices and are safe online.

There is no turning back from where we stand today with regard to the use of tablets in the classroom. The challenges are as relevant and valid as the benefits of using these devices as a vital learning tool in schools. Tablets offer an efficient and effective way to strengthen engagement and interest in the learning process. At the same time, there is an urgent need to develop robust policies and standards for tablet use by schools. And parents to ensure that the use of tablets does not obstruct the overall physical, psychological, emotional and social development of the child.

Today, there is no returning.

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Aara Jones