(In response to David Didau's recent post titled: Just give me one good reason to use a tablet in the classroom)
Without any scene-setting to wade through, here is the one good reason for using tablets in your class:
Tablets are agency machines: They enable students to co-create knowledge, to research independently, and to demonstrate personalized mastery. They enable teachers to spend their time coaching individual students, and honing application skills rather than being the gatekeepers and disseminators of knowledge. Tablets have the potential to revolutionize education because they democratize the acquisition of knowledge and skills, giving students real agency in their own learning.
The kids in the lead picture are connecting with the wider world. And tablets enable kids around the world to connect to the collective knowledge of humankind. How dare we not allow them entry to the wonders of what's out there, in a safe and responsible way? And how dare we not allow them to become confident, independent participators in, and contributors to this world of ideas?
Of course, tablets are also useful in engaging students by making learning fun, hands-ons and relevant. They also encourage the on-going, self-driven acquisition of knowledge. But this is not the real purpose of tablets. Nor is it to simply replace paper-based activities with digital equivalents.
Also, devices do not have to be tablets, although tablets tend to be the most convenient option for most grades and classes.
Let me be clear: schools that issue tablets (or require parents to purchase them), without the requisite intensive pedagogical training of teachers, and the sincere, school-wide reorientation of methodologies, are simply wasting time and money.
Here's a little more about how tablets are being used in South Africa to revolutionize education.
And here is a short clip about a young man I have the pleasure of teaching this year: