What is Tablet Computing?

In the past three years, advances in tablets have captured the imagination of educators around the world. This category is led by the incredible success of the iPad, which at the time of publication had sold more than 85 million units and is predicted by GigaOM to sell over 377 million units by 2016. Other similar devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Kindle Fire, the Nook, Sony's Tablet S, and the Microsoft Surface have also entered this rapidly growing market. In the process, the tablet (a device that does not require a mouse or keyboard) has come to be viewed as 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 these new devices have become more used and understood, it has become even clearer that they are independent and distinct from other mobile devices such as smartphones, e-readers, or tablet PCs. With significantly larger screens and richer gesture-based interfaces than their smartphone predecessors — and a growing and ever more competitive market — they are ideal tools for sharing content, videos, images, and presentations because they are easy for anyone to use, visually compelling, and highly portable. Tablets have gained traction in education because users can seamlessly load sets of apps and content of their choosing, making the tablet itself a portable personalized learning environment.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • As with mobile apps and devices in general, more and more young learners have access to tablets which extends the possibilities in the classroom. Tablets can also fill the gap for technical equipment use in the classroom with entry level price points being far below desktops or laptops with almost equal functionality. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 Increasing media literacy (video making, for example) is an exciting prospect for K-12 students.- deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Jan 24, 2014
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 26, 2014 As I did last year, I've picked my Top Ten, and this is #5. Tablet Computing is relevant to the educational sector I know best because this is technology that schools are willing, for whatever reasons, to pay for! We have 6th-8th graders who now have nothing and soon they're going to have tablets, specifically iPads, and I think this is fantastic! Whatever it takes, in my overall opinion. There's no denying that this is one of the biggest phenomena in K-12 technology implementation and integration. I do have some reservations, however...- mtaylor mtaylor Jan 27, 2014 Already this technology has moved beyond 'might' to 'is'. There has been a massive uptake of tablets in schools everywhere. Students, particularly younger ones, relate to the interface. Tablets are great output devices and the educational apps are coming thick and fast.
  • - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014For me this is closely related to BYOD. We saw kids doing this with smartphones, but were very excited when tablets came along, because of the larger screen, which is very helpful. This is a technology that finally gives access to 1:1 so we can expand the classroom and increase exponentially the possibilities of what can be done!
  • I agree, this is too similar to mobile and BYOD - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014Agree, the tablet, mobile, BYOD, 1:1 are all very interrelated.- digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014
  • Tablets are the ideal tools for communication and information in schools, at home, everywhere. The have to be used more seriously as well to bridge the gap between schools and the outside world.- guus guus Feb 2, 2014
  • - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 3, 2014I do agree with the idea that tablet computing in schools can change the way we deliver classes and address teaching and learning. However, it is not enough to hand out tablets when you haven't designed an experience for your students. Using mobile devices, such as tablets, in education can mean an experience which will open many doors to research, tinkering, questioning, discovery and creativity. And just like any other learning experience, it must follow a process. Again, as someone has already mentioned…tablets are tools and it will be up to the end-user to make good, meaningful and profitable use of the device. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 As with all technologies whatever it may be. The technology in and of itself is not going to transform the design of the learning environment or the learning experience of the student. It is the teacher's pedagogical orientation which is the key. The fanciest technology can be used to maintain the status quo and ensure that the learning environment in essence is still traditional. Agree with both these - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014 We need to begin rethinking the learning experience for our students when they are easily able to access a device.
  • - bobmoore bobmoore Feb 4, 2014The best thing about the sales success of the iPad is that it is causing educators to deeply consider the entire range of tasks an d activities that students need to engage in for true college and career readiness. When they really look at that, many are beginning to conclude that a tablet intended for simple app use and consumption of content does not meet student needs.
  • Tablets are relatively easy for non-computer literate folks to figure out, thus making it almost a "fool proof" device for even the most reluctant educator (or student). If given the choice between the laptops and tablets, my young students are more likely to choose the tablets. Not sure if there is another, more neurological, reason for this.- cbsteighner cbsteighner Feb 4, 2014
  • Tablets may constitute the BYOD approach for many schools, and along with smartphone they enable us to tear down the walls of the classroom - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Feb 6, 2014
  • In a number of developing countries, governments have begun to embark on large-scale tablet roll-out programs to learners and teachers. This is set to increase in the coming years as the challenges and complexities of managing ambitious rollout programs also emerge. - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 9, 2014
  • The concept of a device that is touch screen and provides easy access to information will always be popular and reduce barriers to introducing technology into certain grades and for specific tasks. The market will continue to grow, and will see increased demand and use of tablet devices. But this is very similar to mobile and BYOD threads.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • Tablets have potential to replace textbooks with interactive digital context and embedded formative assessments. Research at Intel is showing that purpose-built tablets including detachable keyboards, active stylus, and rugged characteristics will be available at cost structures that will be increasingly attractive. - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014
  • Tablets continue to evolve as tablet segments develop. Some tablets are being created that are purpose-built for education with special features that make it easier for governments to adopt. Purpose built for students translates to increasing features that are relevant for scientific inquiry (e.g., integrated sensors of the Intel Education Solutions), rugged (e.g., from drops, water, pressure points), or features like hardened based theft deterrent. Purpose built for education features are currently going into major government tenders around the world. - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The description is thorough.- deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Jan 24, 2014
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 26, 2014 Re: my school...if cost was indeed the primary consideration, then how about the fact that you can get 2 Chromebooks for the cost of 1 iPad? We already use Google Apps for Education, so how is the connection lost when it comes to hardware? I spat out my coffee when I saw the latest iPad price list...if we must have tablets, then why not Androids? What are we going to do about the higher wifi requirements? How are middle schoolers going to compose lengthy papers without keyboards? - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 Many durable covers for a range of tablets have low cost keyboards built in. Is portability really that important? Our older students don't seem to have any problems with their MacBook Airs. Because the school is managing the devices, kids will not be able to download/install whatever they want...it'll be standardized, not personalized. We've had 25 iPads available via a cart...to date teachers have had students use nothing more than the web browsers. - mtaylor mtaylor Jan 27, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 This highlights the need for a fully thought out plan for introducing tablets into the school. This plan not only has to consider the infrastructural implications of introducing tablets e.g. connectivity, wifi access and speed, but also needs to have a sustainable plan for teacher professional learning. Mass management of tablets. As I said very easy to use in class but much harder to manage (computers are much harder to learn and use in class but much easier to manage). Software imaging across 200 tablets has its challenges as do security protocols etc - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 27, 2014 I don't think folks at my school (besides the Systems guys and me) understand how much of an effort this deployment is going to involve. If any of you Advisory Board members have some tips for us, please share!- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014You make very good points. At our school we always like to say it's not an either/or situation, it's an AND. We wouldn't take away the notebooks, exactly for the reasons you mentioned. You have to discover the different potentials for each technology. You don't use a tablet like a notebook, or a notebook like a tablet. Each one opens different doors.
  • David I rarely recommend iPads... the cost and the management is a disaster along with the long term cost of ownership. That being said.... they are so sexy and principals like to order them..... I don't see them becoming less popular. I could say what is missing is admin using their brain about a) cost b) cost of ownership and c) innovative training so they are not just used as a "web browser." I think what is on the horizon is a backlash of how much money these have cost and the lack of innovation that has resulted FOR SOME schools and teachers. When will that backlash come? Not in enough time to not make tablet computing a hot ticket. FYI: I love my Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 android devices. I like the iPad too, but the cost of ownership is the killer. How are the Android tablets not specifically mentioned in the description? The "Samsung Galaxy Nexus" I believe is a mixing of devices. There is the Samsung Galaxy phone, Tab and Note. The Nexus is a completely different Android tablet. My 2 cents are to say "Android OS tablets" - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 I agree completely on all your points.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014I am just starting to explore the Nexus range and I am impressed. Manageable, intuitive, and without the restrictions Apple puts on. Plus running SDK on android, is easier than going via Apple.- mtaylor mtaylor Feb 9, 2014
  • A mention of the need for a change in instructional methods otherwise it is just a tool to do the same old same old. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
  • - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 3, 2014 Mass deployment requires careful plannig and MDMs should be considered when dealing with more than 200 devices. Connectivity is also very important and, to my view, is the number one source of frustration in deployments which did not go well.
  • - bobmoore bobmoore Feb 4, 2014Tablets alone, whether they be iPad, Android or Windows are not sufficient. Screen size is an important consideration for extended writing and reading. While Bluetooth keyboard are useful, the back and forth interaction between the keyboard and touching the screen is inefficient and clunky.
  • We see an ongoing convergence of mobiles, tablets and laptops towards flexible devices or cellphones with bigger screens. This could mean the end for dedicated tablets. - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Feb 5, 2014
  • While they are an ideal tool for the individual, for groups and as deployments en masse they can be very problematic. It needs to be mentioned that as an individual device, for someone who can be taught how to manage it, the device can be amazing. But when they have to be centrally managed, locked down to avoid customization, and kept only onsite, you lose most of the benefit of the ease of use, integration into daily life, and efficiency of having them.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • Some of the same features and natural user-interface characteristics of tablets are increasingly being seen in notebook computers. As notebooks get thinner add touch and having convertible designs (such as 2 in 1 devices) the lines get blurred. It should be noted that 'tablets' and 'notebooks' are indeed converging and will continue to converge in the future. For example, ports or tablets to allow connected keyboards (not Bluetooth) when you want to type more than a few sentences allows for the physical form factor of a tablet to be more like a notebook. Same is true for notebooks (such as the Lenovo Yoga and many other 2:1s ) that are getting thinner and provide usages like tablets. - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • I think the impact of using tablets on teaching, learning and creative expression is pretty unlimited. There's great potential here for developing more of an independent learner strengthening crticial thinking skills and turning the student into a creator of content rather than a consumer. I find this prospect very exciting. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Jan 24, 2014I agree! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 26, 2014 OK, I had to play devil's advocate, but I'm excited about our kids getting their tablets. Again, if a school will scoff at laptops but will buy tablets, then so be it. With proper training, our teachers will know how to fully INTEGRATE the iPads in the classroom so that students are using apps to connect, create, collaborate, etc. - mtaylor mtaylor Jan 27, 2014App and software creation I think will be the big development. The arts/music should also expand some integration of tablets eg manual dexterity activities such as on screen painting, drawing, touch and move objects, playing music (electronic keyboard/ drum/ guitar) etc
  • This is a TOOL! It's impact will be as good as the instructional models they support. I think it is dangerous to say that tablets will impact teaching, learning or creating. A pedagogical shift needs to happen. How many teachers do you see making this shift? I absolutely know several, but I hang in innovative teaching circles. As a percentage of the teaching population... few and far between. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 I totally agree - - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014In full support of this!
  • - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 3, 2014 The possibilites are endless but again what we must have in mind is that tools won't do the teaching if there isn't a plan. There are plenty of applications and uses for tablets and mobile devices in general but there must be underlying pedagogical principles to guide teachers and students. Besides connecting classrooms to the world and increasing the opportunity for collaboration and creative authoring, the use of tablets in the classroom can help create that kind of environment, schools put so much effort into building, that is conducive to knowledge sharing and autonomous learning. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014
  • I think we are likely to see a dramatic rise in user generated content which will accompany the rise in access to tablets by learners and teachers.
  • There are lots of dreams and ideas for making tablets work, but they are mostly in complete contrast with the policy and curricular environment in which those using them must operate. Schools that can work towards a total redesign of philosophy, policy, and curriculum will flourish. Others will just continue to get by and learn to despise the technology. - alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • Ultimately the impact is through making natural user interface and providing multiple means of user input so that the medium disappears. Touch, voice, accelerometer and just the beginning. Keyboard will be best for some forms of input (like we are all doing now) and that will continue to be true. - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 26, 2014 Rollout of 250 iPads to 6th-8th graders on our campus this spring.
  • - mtaylor mtaylor Jan 27, 2014 Hong Kong Academy (HKA) introduced iPads into Pre-K in 2011 and doubled the size of the program in 2012. Programming using android tablets was a unit at HKA for G10 students in 2013. App creation for tablets is being developed for Grade 10 students at ISS, Singapore (2014-15). Most SE Asian international schools are running tablets in some form in the school: Renaissance College, Hong Kong has over 200 iPads in Primary School; and United World College, Singapore, issues iPads in its Infant Schools.
  • - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014There are several schools in Brazil that are giving tablets to their students, both iPads and Android. Two examples: Android - Colegio Dante Alighieri (http://www.colegiodante.com.br/) and iPad School - Escola Internacional de Alphaville (http://www.escolainternacional.com.br/bra/).

  • Google is looking to make a big push into education with the Google Play for Education store. They have several pilot classrooms going on now with Nexus 7 devices. https://www.google.com/edu/tablets/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=NORTHAM-EDU-2013-ANDROID-GM-SearchCampaigns - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
  • - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 3, 2014At Cultura Inglesa RJ,DF,GO,RS we make use of tablets in the classroom. www.culturainglesa.net
  • A tablet trial in Stockholm, Sweden, has been assessed with positive outcomes ~- oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen
  • There are tons of these around the world. Here are some large ones. https://blogs.worldbank.org/edutech/big-educational-laptop-and-tablet-projects-ten-countries - mtrucano mtrucano Feb 6, 2014
  • Vail School District – near Tucson, Arizona USA
    As part of their Beyond Textbooks plan, Vail has deployed a large amount of iPads throughout their district. Beyond Textbooks is both a tool and vision of what comes next in realizing the mastery of academic standards. Beyond Textbooks http://beyondtextbooks.org/what-is-bt/ takes a variety of easy to use web-based tools and combines them with the proven curriculum and instructional practices of the Vail School District to create a revolutionary way to increase teacher effectiveness and increase students’ academic success. National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network has a site visit scheduled, February 26-28, 2014. To see a complete agenda or to register, visit www.nsba.org/tlnsitevisits - helen.padgett helen.padgett Feb 10, 2014
  • In Tustin Unified we're providing iPads grades K-8 and laptops grade 9-12. 24,000 students in the district. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014
  • A worthwhile pilot in remote district of Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, is worth close observation. http://digitalclassroom.co.za/digitalclassroom/latestnews/395-tablets-boost-matric-results-in-rural-schools - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 9, 2014

  • Yes, many examples. Large scale "pilots" each in the tens or hundreds of thousands are happening in many parts world as part of government initiatives for local economic development. Many of these deployments have tablets designed or branded by local OEMs (not the major brands listed in the description). - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014
  • Yes, many examples. Large scale "pilots" each in the tens or hundreds of thousands are happening in many parts world as part of government initiatives for local economic development. Many of these deployments have tablets designed or branded by local OEMs (not the major brands listed in the description). - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014