Why teachers want to use tablets to teach?
Children tend to learn by doing, by touching and feeling things. The association between the sensory world and concepts aids learning. At present there is very little that can mimic tangible reality, not even tablets.
However, we can use technology as materials on which to build, extrapolate from and hone concepts on. For example, we can explore the moon without a space suit; we can splash around water without getting wet and invent a world of colour that will fulfill our wildest dreams without having to base it on any logic.
We learn if we have fun but, we do not learn if things are always easy. We must provide children with tasks that are challenging in order to give them the opportunity of finding the pleasure in problem-solving and in increasing their self-confidence in this area.
As teachers, it is our job to carefully choose these activities and challenges in order to enhance learning outcomes. It is our true art. Similarly, it is an art to find apps and other materials that will motivate children to learn without getting bored as well as to teach them to learn from their mistakes.
Mistakes are a natural pathway to learning. It is not wrong to make mistakes. Let everyone know (classmates, teachers and families) that children may make mistakes as a good way to arrive at the correct answer. Wrong answers indicate the point at which the thought of a boy or girl is in the way towards the solution of the problem! Mistakes provide valuable information into how children think and what we can provide to reach the correct answer.
Tablets and tablet applications that provide us with clues about our mistakes are extremely valuable. In my opinion, we need to select educational apps according to these educational principles.
The idea is to provide children with hints and/or a thought process to arrive at the right answers. Teachers are good facilitators of this and apps should be able to mimic this and for children to interact with each other and discuss the results of the activities at hand. Tablets can help to learn to learn.
So far, the best apps that I have used are for creative purposes. Good apps in this field, in my opinion, are the icing on the cake. Boys and girls can create incredible art, music or writing simply using their own fingers. What’s better is that they can also save the work and share it with their classmates in order to receive feedback. Funnily enough, the usage of apps and tablets in the classroom can enhance social interaction.