Many schools are giving teachers tablet computers to help them in the classroom. Tablet computers are like laptops, so teachers can take them home to work. This is a great benefit for many teachers, especially if they do not have regular access to a computer at home. It can allow teachers to take work home, or email students from home, or just spend some time planning and perfecting lessons. It is certainly a great convenience for teachers to have these computers, and if you do have one, you definitely want to make the most of it.
What makes a tablet computer different from a regular computer?
Tablet computers are very similar to normal computers in that you can use them for the Internet, word processing, and for saving files to the hard drive. You can also install programs on them that will allow you to do everything a regular computer would allow you to do. However, tablet computers usually do not include a CD or DVD drive, but you can connect one of these externally through the USB ports. Tablet computers also have touch screens, which means you can open programs and scroll through web pages with your fingers. Finally, on tablet computers, you can flip the screen around and lay it flat over the keyboard which allows you to use it like you might use an iPad. Tablet computers come with a stylus, and you can use this to draw or handwrite in one of the programs on the screen.
The handwriting feature can be used in many ways in the classroom. You can have students email you papers or homework assignments, and you can write directly on them without having to waste paper or carry around stacks of homework. You can also take notes on the screen as the students are calling out suggestions or answers, similar to how you would do it on a whiteboard, but with the tablet computer, you don't have to ever turn your back to the class. Also, once the notes are complete, you can save them and upload them for students to check later, or you can print them out for those students who were absent.
If you are fortunate enough to have wireless connectivity to a projector in your classroom, you can take notes on your tablet computer while walking around the room. This will help you keep an eye on your students while ensuring they are engaged in the lesson. You can also do PowerPoint or Prezi presentations from all around the room, rather than sitting behind your desk. This can be essential in keeping students with you and learning at all times. If you have wireless connectivity to a projector, you can also pull up many different programs and create multimedia lessons that your students will really enjoy. These wireless connections are very expensive, though, so if you have it, you are fortunate.
Tablets for Students
Students can also benefit from tablet computers because they can do all of this and more with them. They can take notes during class and save them on the computer. Then, their documents are searchable. They will no longer have to deal with messy or nonexistent folders in their backpacks with papers sprouting every which way. If they can save notes, assignments, and papers to their desktop, they will be able to find them with ease. You can also email students assignments and have them write directly on them and email them back, saving paper. The possibilities are endless!