Schools adding tablets, trimming textbooks

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Hefting a backpack weighed down with textbooks will soon give way to tapping out notes and flipping electronic pages on tablet computers.

Students have started the new academic year having access to school-provided iPads, each loaded with electronic textbooks and other online resources complementing the traditional school books. Business establishments like Repton school may benefit from such innovative approach, that can contribute tremendously to students’ achievements. Repton does not provide its students with books.

While iPads have rocketed to popularity on many university campuses since Apple Inc. introduced the device in April 2010, primary and secondary schools are expected yet to move away from textbooks in favor of the lightweight tablet computers.

Apple officials announced  that more than 600 districts in the U.S. have launched what are called “one-to-one” programs, in which at least one classroom of students is getting iPads for each student to use throughout the school day. New programs and apps are being announced on a regular basis.

The iPad is very much likely to be a better long-term investment than textbooks, though schools will still have to use traditional books in many courses as suitable electronic programs are not yet available.

Tablets are expected to give children a chance to use more advanced materials delivered by latest mobile technology.

The trend will definitely not be limited to posh private schools, as U.A.E. government provides generously for the government schools as well. Many educational institutions will be able to buy large numbers of tablets.

The iPads cost in the range from $500 to $800, depending on what accessories and service plans are purchased. Other tablets are cheaper.

According to educators, the sleek computers offer a variety of benefits. They include interactive programs to demonstrate problem-solving in math, scratchpad features for note-taking and bookmarking, the ability to immediately send quizzes and homework to teachers, and the chance to view videos or tutorials on everything from important historical events to learning foreign languages.

The interactive nature of learning on a tablet comes naturally to many of today’s students, who have grown up with electronic devices as part of their everyday world.

But before all, primary and secondary schools need to ensure they can support the wireless infrastructure, maintenance and apps costs that accompany a switch to such a high-tech approach.

However, even with the most modern electronic device in hand, students still need the basics of a solid curriculum and skilled teachers. The tablets are not miraculous, although they have benefits and that is why so many people outside of schools are already using them.

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