A research group in the UK has found that nearly 70 percent of schools there are using tablets in the classroom. That probably won’t surprise teachers in the U.S., where Apple has already delivered more than 10 million iPads to schools.
It’s easy to see why teachers and administrators favor tablets and inexpensive laptops (like Google’s Chromebook, which has also been making inroads in the education market): they’re easy to distribute, easy to use, and easy to collect and put away when necessary. What’s less clear is whether the flood of computing devices is actually improving education for students.
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The study, run by research group Family, Kids and Youth, couldn’t make a connection between increased tablet use and better performance from students. The research group explained that it’s difficult to measure that sort of correlation. But the lack of proof that tablets are helping students hasn’t stopped schools from snapping them up. In fact, the group expects tablets in UK schools to nearly double from from 430,000 today to nearly 900,000 by 2016.
The influx of iPads and other tablets to schools in the UK reflects the popularity of tablets in the home. The study found that, like schools, 70 percent of families with children have tablets and let their children use them. Some schools point to the popularity of tablets among consumers as evidence they should be in the classroom – the argument is that schools should use the technology their students are familiar with (and will be expected to use) in life outside the classroom.