Good Read: Searching For the True Value of Tablets in Education

In this lengthy feature about the use of Amplify tablets in schools, writer Carlo Rotella expresses skepticism about the promised potential of these devices providing a better education. He brings up the usual questions around too much screen time, the deluge of data to already overwhelmed teachers, and the lack of research around learning outcomes from using tablets.

Though some of the teachers he interviews can see the promise of true personalized learning for each student, he emphasizes that, in the end, it's up to teachers to make it work.

“Individualizing instruction does lead to better outcomes — if teachers can manage the environment to make that happen.”

But, he asks, is it worth the massive investments when it all comes down to the teacher's skills, anyway?

"If everyone agrees that good teachers make all the difference, wouldn’t it make more sense to devote our resources to strengthening the teaching profession with better recruitment, training, support and pay? It seems misguided to try to improve the process of learning by putting an expensive tool in the hands of teachers we otherwise treat like the poor relations of the high-tech whiz kids who design the tool."

Sally Hurd Smith, a veteran teacher, held up her brand-new tablet computer and shook it as she said, "I don't want this thing to take over my classroom." It was late June, a month before the first day of school.

Read more at: www.nytimes.com

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