4.3 Tablets and digital applications
Tablet computers might provide some of the devices that help a ‘flipped classroom’ operate effectively. Since their first appearance in 2010, tablet devices have been praised for their potential to enhance education, especially with young children. Yet there is still some ambivalence. While some educators enthusiastically embrace new media such as tablets for learning (e.g. Galloway, 2009), others argue that they have no place in young children’s lives (House, 2012).
In the UK, over 70 per cent of all primary and secondary schools now have tablet devices in their classrooms and 900,000 tablets are expected to be in schools by 2016. Young children in particular find them user-friendly research has found that their design presents very few technical challenges for young children, who quickly become enthusiastic and competent users (Lynch and Redpath, 2014).
The fusion of several technologies in tablet devices was seen by the researchers as creating a new ‘digital playground’ for children. Tablets have become increasingly portable, affordable and efficient, and they are specifically designed to accommodate a number of apps, many of which have a child-friendly, intuitive design for learning. For example, Neumann and Neumann (2013) describe tablets as tools for supporting reading and writing, with apps for alphabet matching, phonics games and stories.
In reality, the true potential of using tablets for educational learning remains largely untapped in many educational settings (Kucirkova, 2014). To explore their potential, we consider current findings on digital apps and e-books in the following section.
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