An interactive textbook running on iPad
Oregon Live: News Article
The success of iPad and other tablet PCs has brought about the prospect of a classroom with interactive tablet textbooks. As soon as Steve Jobs introduced an iPad, everyone went frenzy about how it will ‘reshape the future’ of every aspect of our lives. It is true that Apple’s innovation has brought about changes in our daily life. For example, now nearly everyone has a smartphone and it has led to a huge success in social networking services and etc. Therefore, it is valid to expect for some changes in educational environment.
The educational market for digital, interactive, tablet textbooks will certainly be a big market for many electronics companies such as Apple or Samsung. Many schools, especially international schools, are looking forward to invest a lot of money in IT concerning their students’ education. Also, if a school buys a product from one company, it is highly likely that the school will continue to buy the same product from the same company. This is what Apple has been doing for years. Apple affiliated with school teachers and sold their products with discounted prices. This strategy has proven valid for Apple. Now, many students have apple laptops and it is likely that they’ll stick to it for years. For the same reason, many electronics companies making tablet PCs are keeping their eye on this new arising market for interactive tablet-textbooks.
It will certainly be a big market for many electronics companies, however, is it for the best for the students? Is it really educational? In my opinion, I don’t think this is the case.
Of course, these tablet textbooks have some benefits. It’s light, and you don’t have to carry all those heavy textbooks. Along with that it is interactive in a sense that you could actively apply what you have learned through internet.
However, all these benefits are in vain if the students do not have self-control over their tablets. In most cases, students will likely to be playing Angry Birds or some racing games on a tablet rather than studying from it. I’ve had experience with laptop classroom environment, and most of the time, many of my friends were on Facebook. If students keep playing games or chatting on Facebook, these tablet textbooks will be a waste of money and time.
In addition, I have read from some news articles that giving tablets to children under age of five will inhibit their psychological development, as well as their linguistic skills. It is just a form of a high-tech bad parenting that will spoil your kid.
In conclusion, I do not think the tablet textbooks will be educational for most of the students unless they learn how to gain self-control over them. However, I do think that for responsible students, this will be a great resource for his or her education. It is kind of like a double-edged sword that could be either beneficial or detrimental.