Thursday, October 13, 2011

E-Tablets Proving Themselves to be Great Teaching Tools for Teachers Everywhere

As students and teachers alike begin preparations for the school year, the tradition always seems the same. They will set out for new clothes, pens, paper, textbooks, and other basic supplies. What if there was one more item to grab this next school year though? Tablet PCs are starting to hit the world of education and more teachers are integrating them into their classes than ever. They offer huge advances to hands-on learning, teacher to student interaction, and even reducing costs for school districts and parents.

One unfortunate hurdle that every school and their students are constantly struggling with comes down to a budget. Teachers have been yearning for ways to get information to their students in a cost-effective and enticing manner. The budget for many schools around the world is on a decline, but textbook prices are hitting record highs. There have been quite a few alternatives, but none have caught on quite like Amazon's eReader, the Kindle.

(Courtesy of Flickr User: kodomut)

Most will find the Kindle in the hands of travelers waiting in airport lounges, commuters waiting at the station, or vacationers lying on the beach. The last place many would expect to find the Kindle is in the hands of teachers and their students, but that is the direction of this seemingly innocuous eReader. It all began in the last few months of 2010 as Amazon began announcing its intentions to begin offering various textbooks to Kindle owners. Many thought that the Kindle was too awkward for actual use in a classroom, so Amazon took it upon itself to change the minds of the academic world.

Students are now given the opportunity to 'rent' or buy textbooks that are immediately downloaded to their PC, Kindle, smartphone, or other tablet PC. These textbooks can be rented for as little as 48 hours and for as long as a year. Notes can be copied, stored, shared, and even kept after the rental period is over. Teachers have the ability to highlight words, passages, or pages before their students ever turn the Kindle on. Many of the new generations of Kindle and the other eReaders offer sim only plans that allow teachers and students to acquire the data plans while in school without buying into lengthy contracts.

(Courtesy of Flickr User: AuburnAlumniAssociation)

The academic world is not restricted to eReaders alone, tablets PCs are being drawn into classes in greater number than ever before. At the head of this pack is the iPad and the iPad 2. When Apple began their attempt to reinvigorate the tablet PC market, many were unsure of where this technology would go. Most believed that tablets were too underpowered to handle the programs that most people needed and too large to become a truly mobile device. With over 25 million iPads sold to date and many of them in the hands of teachers and students, iPad did something right.

iPads can perform many of the same functions as the Kindle and other eReaders. In fact, there are even Kindle apps available for iPad owners to rent or download textbooks. With a larger processor, high-definition screens, and access to internet almost anywhere in the world, these tablets much more than a simple eReader though. In classrooms equipped with iPads, teachers will find their students drawn into their studies. Traditional lectures can now dynamically integrate hands-on activities, videos, and more with a single tap of the screen.

Instead of assigning lengthy homework projects to students, teachers will be about to assign interactive games that stimulate more parts of a student's brain than ever before. As sim only plans become more readily available to tablet owners, teachers and their students will have the option to only pay for data packages exactly when they need them.

For younger children, the iPad offers activities for basic reading, writing, math, and creative subjects. Children will not be restricted to a single form of learning. Instead, students equipped with iPads now have the ability to utilize all senses when developing motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and learning the basics of numbers, letters, and more.

It has been a longtime coming, but many classrooms have finally caught up to the 21st century. While there is still much work to be done to integrate cutting-edge technology into the field of academics, teachers and schools around the world are starting to realize the benefits of these tools in their classroom.

This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a freelance writer for technology, travel, and music production topics. When he’s not writing or making music, he’s enjoying a good post-apocalyptic novel or playing RTS Strategy online game. Ruben’s writing resume includes websites like SIM Only where you can get the best Sim Only plans as well as other websites that help you save on your tech purchases.

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