Today’s students are growing up as digital natives. Technology is a daily part of their lives, so not taking advantage of using these mobile devices as learning tools that students are already interested in and comfortable using makes no sense.
Many schools and school districts all over the United States are seeing the benefits of using mobile devices such as iPads in the classroom and are now planning to bring this technology in the classrooms through programs like 1:1 (1 device per student) and BYOD (bring your own device).
One of the reasons for the push towards using these mobile devices is to save money. Digital textbooks are beginning to replace traditional textbooks. Textbooks are costly and often outdated quickly and expensive to replace. Plus, they just don’t get the students engaged anymore.
eBooks are a fraction of the cost of a regular textbook and students will always have the most up-to-date information as digital versions are updated much easier. Also, ebooks often have more engaging content such as quizzes and animations, etc. to get students more engaged. With tablets every student can have ther own digital bookcase in the palm of their hands.
I believe there will be a huge shift from textbooks to ebooks in the coming years. A recent study from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found that more than 40 percent of students or teachers use some sort of tablet in their Advanced Placement and National Writing Project classrooms. Schools everywhere are bringing the technology in the classroom to support these ebooks.
Here are some example of schools/school districts that plan to make the shift from textbooks to tablets and similar mobile devices.
The Eanes Independent School District in Austin is distributing more than 2,000 iPads to every student, from kindergarteners to high school seniors.
Christine Quinn, the speaker of the New York City Council, has suggested replacing textbooks with tablets.
Schools in Los Angeles have now allocated the funds to start buying tablets for every student.
Schools in McAllen, Texas, distributed 6,800 Apple tablets last year.
Pat McCrory, Governer of North Carolina has now signed into law a bill that calls for public schools to allocate more money for devices such as digital textbooks and iPads in the classroom.
Mobile devices will soon replace textbooks in Florida classrooms. Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, instructional materials for students in K-12 must be provided in electronic or digital format.
As you can see the shift to mobile devices such as iPads in the classroom to replace textbooks, is widespread and will only continue to develop exponentially.
Mobile device technology in the classroom and digital textbooks are the future of education. The question now many schools are dealing with is “how do we prepare for the shift?”
The first and most important thing to do when planning and preparing for mobile devices such as iPads in the classroom is to prepare your school wireless network.
You can have all the latest and greatest devices, the best policies and procedures, and full teacher acceptance and training, but without the right wireless network infrastructure to support these devices and the security in place to protect your network and students everything else is a waste of time. So my advice when it comes to beginning to plan for mobile devices for your school is to make sure your wireless network is ready first.
To start out, you need to check your signal strength. iPads and similar mobile devices require a strong and reliable connection especially since your network will be supporting a large volume of devices connecting at the same time.
You must thoroughly test your signal strength and distribution throughout all times of day. You need your signal to be uniformly and consistently distributed to all parts of the school campus.
Upgrading your current wireless network infrastructure for the future of wireless is essential. Make sure you have an experienced wireless network consultant help you with all the planning. There is so much to consider and having an experienced wireless network consultant can help you make sure you have covered all your bases.
This is where we can help. We have worked with schools all over the county and are experts in school wireless design and implementing new technology in the classroom. If you have any questions or would like a free consultation, we are happy to help. Just contact us here. Good luck!