Young children, students K-12 and college students, have all embraced tablets like the Apple iPad, and for this reason more tablets are making their way into the classroom. The following infographic designed by Online Universities.com explains graphically tablet adoption by demographics and how students and teachers are using tablets in their classrooms. The most popular tablets, including the Apple iPad 2, Kindle Fire, Asus Nexus7 and Intel Studybook are compared, and consumers were polled for their opinions regarding tablets, including some speculations surrounding smaller tablets like a rumored iPad Mini and Kindle Fire 2.
Tablet Adoption - K-12 Classrooms
Tablet computers appear to be having a transformative impact on K-12 classrooms across all grade levels. They certainly offer the promise of empowering students to achieve more and learn with ever-increasing enthusiasm.
It’s important to distinguish between the types of tablets in the market. There are “slate” tablets—like the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet or the Apple iPad—and “convertible tablets” such as the ThinkPad X220t, which provide a combination of laptop and tablet features. In this post, I’m going to be focused on slate tablets.
Tablets have dynamic touch screens and, in some cases, digital pens. Slates in particular offer longer battery life than most PCs, they boot up faster and users enjoy an ever-growing number of applications. Most importantly, they provide extreme mobility. Their small size enables students to move between learning spaces without difficulty—whether those spaces are in school, at home or elsewhere.
Researchers agree. According to the 2012 edition of Horizon Report (PDF), which looks at emerging technologies in K-12, published by the New Media Consortium.
“In the past year, advances in tablets have captured the imagination of educators around the world. [Tablets] have come to be viewed as not just a new category of mobile devices, but indeed a new technology in its own right, one that blends features of laptops, smartphones and earlier tablet computers with always-connected Internet, and thousands of apps with which to personalize the experience.”
As an example, Forsyth County Schools in Georgia launched a Bring Your Own Technology program in 2010. Today, more than 80 percent of the district’s students use their own tablets and mobile devices to work on projects at school and at home. Their NOBLE Virtual World Project is a project born from this high adoption rate, and is designed to use mobility to facilitate great cooperation between students and with their teachers.
Interestingly, tablet computers appear to be delivering meaningful results for K-12 students of all ages, despite their relative newness to the market.
Frank Ganis, a general partner at the Gilfus Education Group, believes tablets work better for young children than desktop PCs or laptops. He says, pointing out that students’ motor skills and mental facilities are not synchronized enough at early ages to permit effective typing.
“The reason tablets are so important, especially in the lower grades of K-6, is because if students at that age have to use a keyboard it interferes with their ability to absorb and retain information. By removing the keyboard from the learning applications, the tablets are more effective than a laptop or a PC.”
Tablets are also proving valuable to older students. One recent study conducted by the Pearson Foundation, found that tablet ownership quadrupled among college-bound high school seniors in the past year with 17 percent now claiming ownership of one of the devices. In fact, 69 percent of high school seniors said they believed tablets would replace textbooks within the next five years.
Considering these trends, it’s not surprising that tablets would be central to the larger movement toward 1-to-1, mobile-based learning.
Adds the New Media Consortium report.
“People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to. Life in an increasingly busy world where learners must balance demands from home, work, school, and family poses a host of logistical challenges with which today’s ever more mobile students must cope.”
Tablets meet that growing demand for convenience and speed, the report suggests. The report says.
“A faster approach is often perceived as a better approach, and as such people want easy and timely access not only to the information on the network, but to their social networks that can help them to interpret it and maximize its value. The implications for informal learning are profound, as are the notions of ‘just-in-time’ learning and ‘found’ learning, both ways of maximizing the impact of learning by ensuring it is timely and efficient.”
All that being said, we don’t think tablets will be replacement devices for a notebook or PC anytime soon. Tablets are typically more suited for content consumption than content creation. While students can create content on a tablet, they are better suited as a companion device to a PC. Tablets simply are not yet on par with a notebook when it comes to computer power, which limits their ability to create rich content.
What do you think? How are you using tablets — either slate or convertible — in your classrooms? We’ll be talking more about trends in mobility tools in upcoming posts and welcome your feedback.
Tablet Adoption - College Students
Tablet ownership among college students has more than tripled since 2011, according to survey results released Wednesday, March 14, 2012. As students bring more tablets to college, IT leaders likely will be forced to change the way they provide services and interact with students.
Out of approximately 1,200 college students surveyed online in January 2012 by Harris Interactive, 25 percent have a tablet. Last year, that number was only 7 percent.
The survey, commissioned by the Pearson Foundation, dovetailed with an updated 2012 forecast for tablet production. On Tuesday, March 13, the International Data Corp. changed its forecast from 87.7 million units to 106.1 million units. This revision reflected strong Q4 results in the tablet market — partly due to the introduction of the Kindle Fire.
Tablet adoption also is rising among the general U.S. population. Between mid-December and January, the percentage of adults who owned tablets jumped from 10 to 19 percent, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Research Project. In two post-holiday surveys of 2,000 people, 24 percent of tablet owners were 18 to 29 year olds.
The largest user base came from the 30- to 49 year-old range, at 27 percent. Combined, the surveys have a margin error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
The 2012 NMC Horizon Report suggested that tablet adoption would become mainstream in the education space within a year or less.
In a world where students will own devices and universities won't, campuses need to figure out the role of their IT organization, said A. Michael Berman, a member of the 2012 Horizon Project Higher Education Advisory Board and the vice president for technology and communication at California State University Channel Islands.
In general, universities are anticipating two major changes: End-users will own devices. And tablets will be so inexpensive and common that students won't need to search for and process information at computer labs.
"The idea that you would go somewhere to use something that you don't have — to do those kinds of activities — is really going to be obsolete."
In a few more years, instructors likely will expect students to bring tablets, smartphones and other devices to class. Because tablets should become cheaper, more college students should be able to pay for them.
"The biggest impact will be on teaching and learning because most of us have operated from the premise that computing power is scarce, so you have to go somewhere to get it."
But the shift to tablets also presents challenges, such as distributing software and other tools, and managing security.
"I think that it's easy to see what the general trend is, but it's really hard to understand the implications."
While it's too early to tell what these changes mean, IT leaders know they're coming and that they should try to figure them out as best as they can.
How Apple Plans To Dominate The Education Market
In a blog post dated January 20, 2012, I told you how Apple plans to dominate the educational market with the iPad and eBooks instead of hardcover textbooks, and apps targeting the teacher.
At a New York press conference in late January 2012, Apple announced three products that aim to get students and teachers to use the iPad's touch-screen interface to read, write, plan classes and communicate with each other.
- iBooks Author - A free app that lets anyone create a digital, interactive textbook. In a demo at the event, an Apple employee created an e-book with the app in about five minutes, according to live blogs.
- iTunes U - Special free software that lets teachers plan their curriculum and communicate with their students over the iPad. iTunes U will "allow anyone, anywhere, at any time to take courses for free.
- iBooks 2 - A free app and a new online textbook store that will feature digital e-books for schools. Apple said it is partnering with several major textbook companies -- including Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who will make e-books for the store, according to Fortune.
Some Concerns About Tablets
I personally believe that the adoption of tablets by K-12 children and students are a great idea whose time has come. However, not all socio-economic households and schools can afford a tablets, mobile apps and access to WIFI for their school-aged children. For this reason, I am afraid that many families and classrooms will be left behind as tablet technology becomes mainstream. Only higher income households and schools scoring high on standardized tests will be able to afford these new technologies.
My other concerns are privacy issues and proper supervision of students as they gain access to the Internet. Teacher and parental supervision are paramount for all age groups to insure that they are not being exposed to improper online content. Teachers and parents must make sure that tablets are being used responsibly by their children and students, and that these devices are being used for educational activities, not just for playing games and online entertainment.
We won't know the affect tablets and computers will have on the quality of education. Goals must be established and educators must make sure that tablets and other mobile teaching devices are producing higher test scores and grades.
Courtesy of an article dated August 21, 2012 appearing in OnlineUniversities.com and an article dated March 14, 2012 appearing in Converge Magazine and an article dated May 30, 2012 appearing in K12 Education Technology