Back when tablets first hit the market, there was a lot of talk about how they were essentially bigger smart phones without the ability to call anyone. Sure, they were fun to play games on, but what could they actually do in the real world?
Well, several years on that answer has become clear: everything. With so many helpful, well-designed apps readily available, tablets have the potential to help students customize their learning experience both in the classroom and outside of it.
Here is how not to putting a serious dent in the amount of weight they’re lugging around in those backpacks, keep reading.
Portability and Functionality
On these two factors, tablets simply have every other technology beat. They’re lighter and slimmer than laptops and yet they’re not so small that you can only see a portion of the websites or text you load.
This means that while they’re easier to slip into just about any bag, they’re also practical, helping students grasp the full picture in a way that’s next to impossible on a smartphone. Tablets also have relatively long battery lives, meaning you won’t have to interrupt class just because you need a plug.
If you prefer handwritten notes, attaching a stylus to most tablets is easy, and there are a host of note taking programs to aid the process.
Besides easily uploading notes onto your computer and putting a serious dent in the amount of paper you’ll be carrying, taking notes on your iPad can help customize your learning experience.
You can, for instance, add in photos, diagrams or quotes from a Google search that will help you better annotate and learn information in the way that works for you.
Doing Home (and class) Work
Whether it’s lecture slides or thousand-page electronic textbooks (ebooks), centralizing information on a tablet will mean you’ll always have the text you need within a few finger swipes.
What’s more, electronic textbooks tend to be more engaging than their paper counterparts, with links to internet materials that can enhance the learning experience (read: make those hours of homework more interesting).
Studying With Apps
Whether it’s flash cards, math drills, or GRE vocabulary tests, there are more apps to help you study on a tablet than can last you a lifetime.
On top of subject specific apps, you might want to search for productivity tools like calendars and time tracking to help you make the most of your time.
Working like you would on a laptop
Tablets are easily turned into mini-laptops when you pair them with thin, roll-up, bluetooth keyboards. This will empower you to send off a few emails, finish reports, or even write an essay when you encounter that unexpected moment of freedom in the middle of the day.
Compatible With Online Learning (eLearning)
More and more colleges are moving a bulk of their instruction online, whether through online classes or with online activities to supplement in-class lectures.
Some colleges even have tablet apps to further extend the classroom. Having your tablet with you will mean always having access to these helpful online tools.
- Top 6 Online Tools to Help Online Learning Students Feel Connected (from softchalk.com)
- The best tablet for every student (from: theverge.com)
Easy to Combine With Dropbox and Google Drive
Tablets are very much a tool of the cloud. If you prefer to work on your tablet while you’re out and about and switch back to the laptop or desktop in the dorm room, just drop your files into Dropbox and you’ll have access to them when you get home without cluttering up your inbox.
Or work in the cloud directly by taking those notes in a Google Doc and don’t even worry about transferring files from place to place.
At this point, tablets are like the protagonist of that old show tune with the line, “Anything you can do I can do better”.
They bring all of the functionality of a laptop with all of the portability of a smartphone for a fast, customized, more streamlined way of studying. What’s not to like?
About the author: James D is a tech geek who never forgets to hit “Ctrl + S” on his laptop when his blogging away.