Our generation is often criticized for being too focused on technology. But as a member of the Technology Generation, I can say that that is not entirely our fault, but also on the shoulders of our parents and authority figures.
Miami-Dade County has begun a program where all 9th graders in the county have been given Windows tablets.
These tablets have been preloaded with all the textbooks that the freshmen will use this year. The county-wide tablets are a part of their movement to modernize with technology.
“The tablets are a piece of the whole puzzle,” says Assistant Principle Michael Gould, who has been tasked with introducing the tablets. Paired with the new Promethean boards, county schools are quickly adapting to the 21st Century.
These tablets come off as a great idea. They save money for the school and the county, and students don’t have to carry around weighty textbooks. But that’s just the surface of the issue.
There are many students who don’t learn as much virtually as they do with physical books in their hands. Not only are tablets less conducive to learning, the tablets allow students to access Wi-Fi. So how do you stop them from playing games on their tablets instead of studying?
There is no real solution. The student has to want to learn. As the famous saying goes, “you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” That applies here. The county cannot monitor what the students are doing, which presents a problem. If given the option, most students will ignore the reading in favor of the internet.
Previously, some textbooks had been given out on disks so that students could read them on the computer.
For me, that wasn’t conducive to learning. It seemed like a good idea as opposed to carrying a large World History textbook, but once I put the CD in, Netflix was just a mouse click away and my willpower was, on occasion, not strong enough to hold me back from it.
These tablets will likely have the same effect, and even more so on unmotivated students. For those students who weren’t even going to read a textbook anyways, the tablets now offer a new means of entertainment, and become nothing but a toy. For some students, the tablet may become an incentive, but they are the minority.
The county may eventually find a way to turn off the Wi-Fi on the tablets, and give students a better chance at reading, but for now, the cost of these tablets may outweigh their benefits.