Tablet computers may be hindering education

A little education never hurts, goes an old saying. But in these days of accelerating IT, the question of how that education gets disbursed is being asked.

Specifically, can high school students learn better with tablets – or PCs – or should they be forced (encouraged?)  to take an hands-on approach?

In this opinion piece Patrick Gray raises the issue after observing Apple showering U.S. schools with iPads.

“Will a generation educated on tablets miss the benefits of experiential learning?” he asks, “dryly observing iTunes University classes on chemistry rather than inhaling the sulfuric odor of hair burnt by Bunsen burner-fueled antics?”

His column reminds me that in some Ontario schools students no longer learn how to write in longhand – it’s assumed they’ll do all their work on a keyboard. That’s quite an assumption.

Sure tablets can give a student almost instant access to text and video information on the Internet from their desks. But with vendors subsidizing hardware to put on those desks one has to ask what their motives are and whether education is the goal.

Read Gray’s column here