There has been much speculation about what Apple will be announcing today. Will it be a glorified book reader? An iPod Touch/iPhone on steroids? We will find out very quickly here, and then we can all envision how we could use the device. Will it help you at work? Will it be the perfect commuting partner? Will you use it as the mother of all television remotes? Consider this, though. How will it affect our children? How will they use the tablet?
If your children are anything like mine, they will want to play with it the moment it comes out of the box. They will be amazed at how large their favorite iPod Touch apps look on the larger screen. And the screen will be large enough that they can both play with it at once.
In our house, though, the Apple tablet will be used a great deal for education. I have a plethora of .pdf files to use for homeschooling that are just inconvenient to use on a desktop computer, or even on a laptop. On a tablet, the files could be sitting next to us at the table, just like a text book. The kids could mark up the pages as if they were writing in a workbook. We could watch videos from the internet or do interactive educational websites (I’m looking at you, BBC) without leaving our school table. When we go on a trip, we could bring our entire homeschool library with us. Of course, we’d have to have two tablets, since we have two children.
More than that, though, the tablet will completely integrate education and technology, allowing for easy access to e-textbooks and online teaching. In the regular education world, imagine if each desk had one of these tablets. No longer would students have to crane their necks or squint from the back row to read what is being written up on the board. It will automatically show up on their desk’s tablet. You wouldn’t need to take any notes, since it would all be emailed to you at the end of the class, or automatically beamed to your own personal electronic device.
Children will be designing their own apps from an early age. Since the tablet will be such a part of their lives, they won’t be intimidated by the technology. Since the larger tablet size will allow for more than one person to sit around it (but perhaps only two people), the children will probably design two player games. Or whole rooms of tablets can be instantly networked to allow for multiplayer games, or even educational activities like a group tour of the pyramids or Machu Picchu.
The possibilities are really endless, limited only by our imaginations. We shall see how the tablet really affects us, but children will instantly invite this technology into their lives. Watch how they use it, and you’ll learn new areas to develop. Inevitably, children invent new ways to use technology, so pay attention. You might learn something.