Contrary to what your elderly science teacher may preach, electronic devices have proven themselves very useful in the classroom. Incorporating the use of downloadable course materials for students on their tablets and electronic devices can actually benefit the classroom. Course materials viewed on electronic devices have been shown to improve students’ learning in certain areas, students enjoy using them, and it’s economically efficient.
Firstly, electronic devices are not only beneficial to the classroom; they have also been shown to be better than older methods for teaching students certain concepts. A student trying to grasp a geometrical or spatial concept can obviously be aided in a tablet’s use of 3D imagery, a lot more than he can be helped by his science teacher’s scribble of a shape on a blackboard. A study found that students who learned about the solar system through its depiction in a traditional textbook scored lower than those who learned about it with the 3D capabilities of the ipad. This shows that when it comes to concepts like distance, time and spatial visualisation, the ipad beats traditional methods of teaching. If this is a way to better teach our students and bring about a wave of smarter individuals in the process, there is no reason to avoid incorporating ipads and other electronic devices in the classroom. Not to mention, students seem to really like using electronic devices in the classroom.
Second, students love using electronic devices in the classroom. The kids of the late 90s are all electronically literate, and prefer using electronic devices over any other method of learning. They spend hours a day in front of screens, it’s only normal that incorporating electronic devices in classes would feel natural to them. A student of Vanier College named George Koniaris was asked his opinion on the use of electronic devices in the classroom. George said, “In my biology class, the teacher allows us to bring tablets in class to read the powerpoints she sends us online. I actually prefer this method as I find it more efficient and easier than carrying a bunch of books with me to class. I would like if more teachers promoted the use of tablets in their class.” George is not the first person to mention how having to carry a bag full of books is a hassle, and that hassle disappears with the use of tablets. A study done in Pepperdine University took a group of students and integrated the ipad into their classroom experience. The study found that most students really enjoyed the ipad, and found it useful. Efficiency is one great thing about the ipad, but the fact that it saves money is another important factor we have to consider.
Lastly, using electronic versions of course materials and student assignments over paper can have a significant effect on costs. Imagine if every time you have to hand in an assignment, you do it online. Imagine that every time you have to bring course notes to class, you put them on your tablet. The amount of paper that would be saved by doing this alone would be phenomenal. This would not only cut costs, but would also be a great step towards making schools more environmentally friendly. A study done at the University of Texas had as one of their research points to find if there were any cost cuts for a department in their school, if that department asked of students to hand in all assignments virtually and for all grades and comments to be given online as well, very similar to our omnivox at Vanier College. The study found that there was a 48% decrease in costs from the last year’s total costs. The majority of students also enjoyed using the online system. Online submission and overall electronic use in the classroom is an efficient way to go about schooling, and it should become more used.
In conclusion, incorporating electronic devices in the classroom has been shown to actually be more efficient than traditional methods for teaching certain concepts requiring 3D visualisation. Students also really enjoy using them and they cut costs compared to the use of paper notes and course materials in the classroom. They vary from being big enough to fit in your pocket, to big enough to be held in one hand. They are relatively small and compact compared to having to carry a whole bag of books around with you, and don’t weigh you down like a heavy bag pack does. They are a great addition to traditional teaching methods, and in a society that is changing and becoming more technology oriented every year, a change towards electronic devices is inevitable.
By Stamatis Daskos
Arney Janna, Jones Irma & Wolf Angela.“Going green: paperless technology and feedback from the classroom”.Journal of Sustainability and Green Business. ND.
Brian Handwerk, National Geographic News, 2013. iPads Improve Classroom Learning, Study Finds. The writer of this article was just describing the findings of a study.
Cameron, Andrea H.; Bush, Michael H., Ed.D. Pepperdine University, 2011. Digital course materials: A case study of the Apple iPad in the academic environment.