There’s a growing idea about the use of tablets and laptops in K-12 schools around the world. This technology, like any other tool, has the potential to make a huge positive impact on student learning. But how is it measuring up?
I recently came across a study by the Commonwealth of Learning called Large-Scale, Government-Supported Educational Tablet Initiatives. The authors studied tablet initiatives from around the world and evaluated their impact. Here are some snippets from the report:
“A growing number of countries are embarking on large-scale, government-supported initiatives to distribute tablet devices to students in the K–12 schooling sector. Unfortunately, there is a misconception that by simply putting this technology in the hands of students, educational access issues will be resolved and educational transformation will occur. In this research project, a systematic review of current government-supported tablet initiatives around the world was conducted to understand their origins, underlying principles, financial and organisational models, and expected outcomes. An extensive literature search and data extracted from identified documents showed that 11 countries have launched government-led tablet initiatives. The review concluded that the majority of these initiatives have been driven by the tablet hype rather than by educational frameworks or research-based evidence.”
“This review provides a snapshot of current large-scale, government-supported tablet initiatives around the world. The information collected confirms that the majority of the initiatives were launched in a hasty and uncalculated manner, similar to the uncritical enthusiasm that surrounded the One Laptop per Child initiatives.
However, this statement should be used cautiously, as the review was limited by the nature of the documents retrieved and the shortage of publicly available information. For a better understanding about the effectiveness of tablets in educational contexts and a clearer idea about best practices, a more focused review of the academic literature addressing tablet use in educational contexts is warranted.
Overall, we found that the initiatives focused on the hype around tablets and not on their use as a tool to achieve an educational goal.”
What do you think? Have you used tablets or other mobile devices in your classroom? What was your experience? Comment below!
I’ve often wondered if the drive for technology in classrooms wasn’t just a bit of hype over being able to claim something “new and wonderful” was happening. I think technology should definitely be used when it’s relevant and useful, but using it for the sake of saying you’ve used it seems to clutter the purpose of education. (When I taught public school, there was actually a spot for “incorporating technology” in any official lesson plan we had to do…goodness knows you didn’t want to leave that blank. We were pressured to add tech into every lesson if it was helpful or not.)
I agree. Doing things for the sake of doing them is just extra work. It’s important though to give new ideas enough time to be thoroughly investigated/tested before discounting it. 🙂