This month is a popular month for high school graduations, and the well-wishing, gift-giving possibilities are endless. Some grads are looking forward to summer vacations with friends, while others are already starting to make packing lists for college in the fall.
These packing lists often include at least one personal electronic item, usually a desktop or laptop computer. However, with the popularity and buzz around tablets increasing more every day, we might begin to see more iPads, Xooms, PlayBooks, and Galaxy Tabs added to the list.
It seems like just yesterday that laptop manufacturers were touting the largest, clearest screens. Perhaps this generation will be the one that prefers smaller, more portable forms of technology. The compact nature of tablets makes them ideal companions for students who already have to cart around piles of textbooks, paper, and pens.
Tablets also feature close to instant start-up that sure beats waiting for your computer and anti-virus program to get going. With the app markets available on iPads and on Android Tablets, it seems that there’s an app for everything – note transcribing, foreign language practice, voice recording, maps, dictionaries, thesauruses, and more. These apps can serve as a convenient, fun way to reinforce the learning process. Course management systems like Blackboard are also beginning to partner with mobile devices to allow faster access to grades, outlines, and required reading.
On the other hand, there may be a limit to the practicality of tablets, given that fast typing is next to impossible unless a keyboard is attached, which may hinder note-taking. Also, even if e-textbooks catch on, highlighting and marking on a screen doesn’t seem to stimulate memorization like a physical page would.
How useful do you think it would be for students to own tablets? Will tablets revolutionize the learning process, or is this a fad that will dissolve in a few years?