Teaching with Tablets Offers Plenty of Plusses

shutterstock_146082389Tablets are expected to outsell PCs this year, and their popularity is carrying over to the classroom. Why use atablet instead of a PC or laptop anchored to a lectern? From the instructor’s perspective, the reasons are many.

  1. Tablets are not only easy to bring to class; they allow instructors to move within the classroom. By circulating with your tablet in hand, you can work with students and refer to readings and notes on your tablet. Removing yourself from the front of the room can have a positive impact on classroom dynamics, too. Yet another plus: Roam the aisles, tablet in hand, to discourage students from going off-task!
  1. Tablets save paper and keep notes organized in one place. Lesson plans, grades, attendance, and readings are available to view or annotate in one tool.
  1. Tablets with digital versions of textbooks allow for robust annotation and contain external links.
  1. Tablets support digital conversations and interactivity. The tablet can be used to engage students in discussions using Twitter. In a large lecture, this is a great way to encourage reticent students to respond to questions using a backchannel.
  1. Tablets allow you to take your work anywhere: classroom, office, bus, or sofa.
  1. Tablets replace other technology. You can show video, presentations, or images without lugging a laptop. Tablets also allow clicker technology, which is perfect for classrooms without much technological support.

Must-Have Apps for Teaching With Tablets

If you’re making the leap to using a tablet in your classroom, you’ll want to start by downloading apps. The choices are plentiful, but start with these:

Dropbox. Store files and transfer them between devices.

eClicker. Use the tablet as a polling tool that sends a signal to any wi-fi enabled device—great for pop quizzes or to gauge reactions and generate responses.

 Notability. Type or handwrite on a blank note or while annotating another document. Excellent for lesson plans.

Paperless Teacher and TeacherKit. Take attendance and record grades.

Popplet—Collaborate and map concepts—allows groups to work on devices while contributing to a shared concept map.

Skitch and iAnnotate. Take screenshots and mark up PDFs.


We’d love to hear about your experiences using tablets in your classroom. Post your comments above!


Sources: Hedge, S. (2012, November 4). Teaching with tablets. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/teaching-tablets#sthash.IHOtHTRM.dpbs

Machielse, C. (2012, January 31). 5 ways to use your iPad to teach in the college classroom. Retrieved from http://info.lecturetools.com/blog/bid/52506/5-Ways-to-Use-Your-iPad-to-Teach-in-the-College-Classroom

Miller, W. (November/December 2012). iTeaching and learning: Collegiate instruction incorporating mobile tablets. Library Technology Reports. Retrieved from http://alatechsource.metapress.com/content/W41833


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