Quite frankly, I’m a gadget guy. I dig technology. I love to tinker and I love to get my hands on the latest technology to see how it works. I look at everything from the “cool factor” first and then figure out how I can incorporate the technology into my daily life. If I can’t figure a way for a piece of technology to make my life easier or more productive, I then try to figure out how I can alter that technology so it will. Finally, if it merely has a cool factor and the technology just plain and simple doesn’t do anything to make my day better….well….I walk away from it. So, where does this long explanation of my view on new technology take us? To the tablet.
Tablets are extremely cool. There’s one on either side of my bed that are used for reading books. There’s one in my living room for checking email and surfing Facebook. I’m pretty sure I have one in my backpack…although it probably needs charged. The point is that they are more like IT accessories to me. To be truly honest, I use my smartphone and laptop more than anything. My smartphone does all the things I need when I’m very mobile and my laptop gives me all the power I need when I can stop for a few minutes to get something done. I realize that the tablet is designed to be a middle use device between my smartphone and laptop, but I just haven’t figured out yet how it makes my daily life easier. Of course your mileage may vary.
Now to the heart of this story. My first link below asks a pretty straight forward question that I know a lot of people in education are asking. “Is the tablet effectively engaging students, or is it a distraction to learning?” Let me ask a few more questions I hear bantered about. “Are they buying tablets because they’re cool or do they actually have a plan on how to use them?” “What’s next beyond the tablet?” There are more questions just like these that educators are struggling with every day. It’s what I like to refer to as the I’ve-Played-Angry-Birds-Now-What Syndrome.
These are all tough questions to answer. We’ve seen tablets have limited success in education as well as corporate environments. And really, given the short time they’ve been in play, we should say limited success. We haven’t however seen wide spread success. Many are still trying to find their path with this technology long after they’ve acquired it.
Sure, IT consultants like myself can assist with finding the right footing for your technology. That’s why guys like me like to tinker with the new stuff when it gets released. But generally, technology in an active environment should be driven by business requirements and business requirements should never be driven by technology.
So, today’s research is below and I will now step down from my tablet box. I hope you’re having a great Monday.