Why should schools purchase half a dozen different tech tools that sit around classrooms, unused most of the time, when teachers and students can use a tablet to perform the very same functions those gadgets do?
This is the argument Doug Johnson makes in his recent blog post, “Some technology schools should stop buying TODAY.” Johnson is the author of six books on education, has contributed countless articles in various publications, and has worked as a teacher, librarian, and technology director in grades K-12, so he knows his stuff.
He compares a tablet to his Swiss Army knife in that both are capable of serving many functions. For example, a Swiss Army knife may contain small scissors, a screwdriver and tweezers in addition to a blade, and while none of those tools are as good as a dedicated tool, each can get the job done and are all conveniently located in his pocket when he needs them.
In the same way, the tablet can function as many different tech tools within the classroom. Instead of purchasing a variety of different gadgets at high price points, Johnson encourages teachers to look for a one-stop shop as far as tech is concerned: in his article, he lists different tech tools that a tablet (priced as low as $199) can replace:
- Interactive white boards: Apple TV or Reflection will project the iPad screen on which the student or teacher can display work.
- Student response systems: PollEverwhere, Socrative, and GoSoapBox are among the programs that use tablets or cellphones instead of “clickers.”
- Document cameras: Point the tablet camera at the object and project. iPad stands are under $20.
- Graphing calculators: Use an app.
- Computer Labs: Unless one doing high end video editing or copious amounts of keyboarding, who needs a desktop or full-sized keyboard? List three features in Word that you’d miss if you only used GoogleDocs.
Teachers and students: do you agree with Johnson? What tech tools do you use in the classroom? Could any be replaced by a tablet? Sound off in the comments below, or tweet at us: @Technapex or @ce_doyle.