School IT Blog

Tablet Computers In Education Are A Waste Of Time (If You Don't Avoid These Mistakes)

Wed 03 December, 2014

This morning, the BBC has published a story online about tablet computers and their link to academic progress. View the original report here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30216408. It states that although 69% of primary schools now use tablets in their schools, there is currently no link to academic progress. Why is this?

At Soft Egg, we feel that key mistakes are being made in the implementation and use of tablet technology and that these mistakes are what is stopping them from having an effect on academic progress. If you are a school with tablets, or a school considering tablets, this article will explain those mistakes and the solutions, so that you can ensure your investment in technology leads to academic progress.

Mistake One: Jumping on the Bandwagon

Lots of very well intentioned teachers see others schools purchasing tablets, especially iPads and begin to feel either jealousy or guilt. The "Our school should be buying those!" mentality slips in and pressure is applied to Head Teachers or Governors and the school eventually buys tablets. There is no harm in this, but it misses a key stage and a key question; what learning do we hope to facilitate with this purchase? 

If a school has answered the why of purchasing, before purchasing, then they can have ensured the device will be able to do what it has been bought for and that it does it well. It also helps to ensure that schools don’t make the second mistake.

Mistake Two: Not fully considering device management.

School budgets are now tighter than ever, business managers are savvier than ever and schools are constantly looking for the best value. Now this is obviously something to be commended, but it can be an issue, if it is a the price of choosing the cheapest solution over the best solution. For example, if iPads are purchased without the correct management equipment and systems in place, they can be very difficult to manage. Teachers quickly become frustrated if an iPad cannot print, or work cannot be saved to the normal spaces. Now these things are all possible, but they require technical knowledge, investment of time and purchasing the correct equipment in the first place.

If a school ensures that they have had expert advice before purchasing, then they can invest their money wisely in the correct equipment and this mistake can be completely avoided. The tablet can then seamlessly link into the daily learning of pupils and teacher’s daily teaching. This leaves one final mistake to avoid.

Mistake Three: Only investing in technology.

Schools are busy environments, with many varying pressures all vying for the time of teachers and of school leaders. A common mistake in purchasing new technology is thinking that once the purchase is made and the devices installed that they will magically have an impact on learning. Sadly, this is not true. Without investing time and money into training staff, often the devices sit unused and therefore cannot possibly have an impact on learning. It is key that schools work only with companies that can offer expert training, so that they can show staff simply and effectively how to utilise the potential of the device that they have purchased.

Investing in training ensures that schools will see a return on the huge investments that they are making on tablet and other technology. It will allow both teachers and pupils to see the potential of that equipment as a tool for learning, which will ensure that they have an impact on academic progress.

GETTING HELP:

If your school is considering purchasing tablets, has tablets sitting unused, or has difficulties managing the devices that you have already installed, then please contact Soft Egg. We have experienced technicians who can ensure that your tablet set up does what you want it to do and can support you along the journey to ensuring that technology purchase has an impact on learning. We also have advisors, who can support you in making the big investment decisions before you buy, so that you avoid the mistakes set out above. You can speak to us on the phone at: 0845 094 8492, or via email at getintouch@softegg.co.ukor you can book a visit from an advisor here: http://softeggucation.co.uk/wo...