Technology permeates every aspect of our lives, including education. From kindergarten to post graduates, every student has been affected by the many innovations in computer and information technology. For decades it’s been a slow transition to smarter, more convenient computing in the education sector, but the era of wireless internet access and the availability of efficient wireless broadband solutions definitely revved up the process.
A computer in the classroom is nothing new, but wireless access in school means the devices and software we usually associate with fun and games can become tools for learning. Suddenly, iPads, tablets, and smart phones are no longer just distractions that educators ban in schools.
There have been many research and studies done on the effect of iPads and tablets in the classroom. In a research study of 266 Kindergarten students from Auburn, Maine, the class using iPads for their lessons was found to produce higher literacy scores compared to those who didn’t use these devices.
In another study concerning the iMed Initiative of the University of California, Irvine, it was found that the first batch of medical students who were issued iPads scored an average of 23% higher in national examinations compared to their peers from the previous year who did not receive tablets.
Overall, how much of an impact do iPads have on education? In a study conducted by the Educause Center for Analysis and Research, it was revealed that 3 out of 4 teachers agreed that wireless technology was beneficial for the teaching process. In fact, 43% of the teachers surveyed said they used tablets in the classroom during lectures. 81% also thought that tablets enhanced and enriched learning.
For students in the same study, 3 out of 4 preferred to read and study using a tablet than a traditional textbook. 86% of students also believed that tablets helped them study more efficiently.
Late millennials and Gen-Z students are comfortable with tools like these because they were born in the age of wireless technologies. It’s no wonder they prefer learning through these gadgets rather than traditional methods of learning.
Benefits of Tablets and Wireless Technology
Although there are some apprehension about giving tablets to children younger than 12, the reality is that more and more pre-school children are exposed to these gadgets at home. Parents and teachers alike can leverage the kids’ interest through learning apps that enhance a child’s learning experience rather than distract from it. Supervision is also key to preventing overuse that may lead to addiction.
Gone are the days when elementary school students need to have a large backpack to accommodate all their books. With tablets having the data capacity to contain hundreds of books, there’s really no need to bring the entire library of physical books everywhere you go. This benefits not just the students and teachers but the environment as well because the demand for paper materials is effectively reduced.
Interactive Visual Presentations
Giving reports and presentations will always be a part of the classroom experience. Tablets and other smart devices can help students carry out these assignments, with various apps on the market that make presentations more interactive and interesting.
Efficient Grading and Real Time Feedback
Wireless technologies can help educators make their work more efficient. The ACT standardized college-readiness assessment test for 2015, for example, had transitioned to digital from pencils and papers. This made checking the exams faster, and students were able to get their test results much earlier than before.
Teachers will benefit well from such innovations as they can spend less time doing paperwork, enabling them to devote more time to actually teaching.
Enhanced Computer Skills
Proficiency in learning codes and programming is more inherent in today’s youth who grew up around computing technologies. They learn faster and understand technical concepts better because of their exposure to the internet and the different concepts of computer and information technology.
When used correctly wireless technologies can work to complement the traditional classroom setting. Whether the school provides the tablets or implements a bring your own device policy, the benefits of using smart devices are clear.
With the right set of school policies and guidelines on smart device usage, together with enough supervision from teachers and parents, iPads and similar tools can be utilized to benefit instead of causing detriment to the development of students.