EDUCATION LOOKING TO INCREASE TABLET USE IN SCHOOLS
As the academic year is about to come to a close, the department of education is now considering replacing text books in schools, from fifth grade primary, with electronic tablet computers, for which the parents would have to foot the bill.
The proposal has been presented to the teachers unions this week that would allow for a pilot scheme started last year in a few schools to be rolled out across the education network.
As with any experimental program, the final approval would lie with the Department of Education, but would then lead to a selection committee being created, formed mostly of head and lead teacher trainers, as well as auditors and monitors to ensure that the process reaches an equal implementation system.
Although the parents would have to pay for the tablets, which must also meet minimum characteristics set down by the department, the cost is not too dissimilar to the annual fees paid by many parents for the next batch of textbooks as their children move through the system.
Spokesperson for the authority, María José Catalá, explains that the use of tablet computers is a form of “adapting the education system to the needs and demands arising from the use of new technologies”, and although it is still experimental, the department doesn´t rule out being able to provide support for families who may not be able to afford the tablets, in much the same way as help is sometimes awarded towards textbook costs.
Among the benefits for the use of electronic tablets are the fact that they are intuitive; naturally integrate the capabilities that young people develop by using similar devices that follow the same logic; early adaptation of technology integrated into our daily lives; improved digital skills decreasing the rejection of ICTs and improved language skills thanks to features such as voice recognition.
The devices also integrate utilities that can assist in the learning process, such as calculators, dictionaries and a calendar, and can also play music and video, thus enriching the multimedia learning capacity for the students, something which printed books cannot do.
Tablets also cut down considerably on the amount of weight that children have to carry. Recent studies have indicated that children in Spain may suffer long term damage by carrying too much in their early years, and that even the use of wheeled trolleys can have a detrimental effect on their growth, if not used correctly.
The consultation period for approval will last for two weeks. Should the scheme be approved for adoption, the department has vowed to offer training courses, not only for the students and teachers, but also for parents to be able to see how the devices work and the benefits of switching to a digital form of educational progress.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43832/