Saturday, February 16, 2013

Talking about tablets

Last week I read through the NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition about the most important trends over the next 5 years.  The section that I was personally most interested in was that on tablet computing, which has an adoption horizon of one year or less.  Tablets are seen as more useful to students than smartphones because of the larger screen that allows more detailed interfaces or viewing area, however the main reason they are seen as being transformative is because of the apps, making them popular and powerful tools.

One major advantage of tablets is for reading magazines and eBooks - which now outsell print versions.  Many universities are embracing BYOD and tablets seem an ideal choice as students can add their own apps and so personalize their learning environment with all the resources they need on just one device.  Because mobile apps are often integrated with social networks, tablet are also effective for collaboration - for example with shared notebooks - and for communication of things such as assignments, deadlines, schedules and so on.

Tablets are already the devices used by our Early Childhood students at school.  Several departments also have sets of tablets that students can use in their lessons.  Last year my school ran a BYOD prototype, after which is was decided not to include tablets as a BYOD option for students.  This year, however, one of our R&D teams has considered tablets as a secondary device.  BYOD2 prototypes have ben run in all areas of the school and we have observed that a second device can be useful for learning in many ways.  It could be that tablets, used as a secondary device, may well have an adoption horizon of one year of less at ASB.

Photo Credit: Stanford EdTech via Compfight cc

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