What is Tablet Computing?

In the past two 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.

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

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

  • Tablets are undoubtedly ideal as portable and highly personalised digital/learning devices. But while they are ideal for 'consumption' and basic 'production/sharing', they are not ideal as a workhorse for students, i.e., in my experience, a laptop is also a requirement. Therefore, the question is not about whether tablets become ubiquitous, or even about what apps can be designed for different learning activities, but rather about 'what kit' is required overall to work effectively as a student in the digital world. - jimdevine jimdevine Feb 5, 2015 Totally agree as we are increasingly having problems with students who show up with a tablet device and expect to be able to participate fully with the range of learning experiences they encounter which use a multitude of software, - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 14, 2015Agree with the above statements - tablets are ideal portable digital learning/media consuming devices but are not ideal in meeting all student productivity requirements. Sometimes a laptop or similar is required. - Muiris.OGrady Muiris.OGrady Feb 15, 2015- Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 16, 2015
  • Some additional points(perhaps): rapid 'go time' (majority of users simply bring these devices out of sleep rather than 'boot up' and they are then immediately ready for use ), silent running of such devices, SSD technology, etc. are advantageous for educational settings. However I would also agree with comments above. I have noticed an increasing number of users beginning to use portable bluetooth keyboards with such devices. - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 15, 2015 I believe these devices make online reading much easier and faster. Often on other devices content once located was printed for reading but tablets make reading online a much easier task. - ckane ckane Feb 16, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on third-level education in Ireland?

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

  • 1:1 IPad Initial Teacher Education programme at NUIG: link - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 15, 2015
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