The personal learning network for educators
I'll refrain from gushing about tablets as tools for students. Instead, I'll examine how readily tablets streamline my job as a teacher. Here's a scenario from my vocabulary course:
Twice a week, students are assessed on a vocabulary unit. On Wednesdays, they log their homework answers into an interactive Hot Potatoes short answer quiz. As I roam the room, they can ask me for some assistance, and the interactive file also gives them feedback with every question they answer. As they finish, they raise their hands to indicate they are ready to have their grade recorded. My tablet in hand and logged into the school's gradebook portal, I immediately record their grade, which a parent can access as soon as I update the grades with one finger push.
Some students come to class unprepared. They automatically sit apart to study. As they work, I send an email to their parent to notify them of unpreparedness, and I log in a zero that can be overwritten when they do complete the work. There is no post-it note to myself to do it later when I'm sitting at a computer. I can stand at their shoulder and send the email immediately while I give them assistance.
If I taught science, I can imagine that tablets would be essential in evaluating lab work. Visit a group at work, record their success or make a note for re-assessment, or pull up a demonstration video with support resources for examination.
Rather than access a table of student eportfolio links, I can visit each student to discuss and advise them on their work. The student can make changes and I can record it immediately. No notes to self. No checking the work later. It's hands-on, immediate evaluation that saves me from making errors, forgetting or misplacing work, and no worries of whether or not problems are addressed timely.
One of the biggest difficulties facing us as teachers is the time factor. Why it's taken me from June, when I received the tablet as a gift, until December when I began using it this way to realize that I can cut several steps from my daily work, I can't explain. The tablet is replacing my computer when it comes to assessing tasks and group work. I have had to adjust from using my tablet for personal interests to using it as a tool that can give me more time for personal interests. And then I can use it for that as well!