Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Tablets in Schools Double in One Year: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Tablets in Schools Double in One Year: News

Article excerpt

Boom in affordable computers in US and UK classrooms.

Schools are contributing to the upswing in the sales of tablet computers, with their numbers in classrooms more than doubling in the UK and US in the past year, figures reveal.

According to research released by the International Data Corporation (IDC), the US tablet market in schools soared by 103 per cent in 2011-12, with even greater growth expected in the years to come.

The figures mirror a similar increase in England, with a report published by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) last month showing that the number of tablets in England's schools is expected to reach 260,000 by the end of this year, up from 100,000 in 2012. The group has predicted that nearly a third of all students will have access to a tablet by 2020.

Experts believe the rise in tablets' popularity will lead to a drop in prices for schools as the likes of Apple and Google compete for a bigger share of the education market. Introducing tablets has made the goal of giving every child access to technology and the internet considerably more likely to be reached.

Miles Berry, subject leader for computing education at the University of Roehampton and board member of UK information and communications technology (ICT) subject association Naace, said that one-to-one deployment of technology in schools had been the "holy grail" until now.

"They (tablets) make getting technology into the hands of every child a real possibility," Mr Berry said. "Unlike laptops they are more intuitive. Plus, they tend to be cheaper. They are also good for more collaborative work."

But Mr Berry warned that tablets are not best suited to coding and wider computing work, which both the UK and US governments are moving towards. England's education secretary Michael Gove recently made changes to the curriculum by introducing computer science at GCSE and adding it to the list of subjects for the English Baccalaureate exam performance measure. …

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