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Has your school introduced tablet computers into the classroom yet? According to research by the charity Tablets for Schools, 70% of UK schools are encouraging pupils to use tablets in class – either through BYOD or supplying them as standard school equipment. The shift to touchscreen is now happening with large interactive screens, which are fast replacing interactive whiteboards and projectors as the preferred front-of-class display.
Primary school pupils have been brought up with touch technology from birth. Many people will remember it making an appearance back in 2004 with the release of Nintendo DS but it was not until the launch of the first generation iPhone in 2007 that touchscreen devices really took hold. It’s difficult to think of any other technology that has been adopted as quickly and as widely as touch technology. Cisco report that of the 526 million new mobile devices sold last year, 77% were smart devices, the vast majority of which are controlled by touch. As a comparison it took telephones 45 years to enter the mainstream market, mobile phones took seven years but smartphones took just four years.
There are many academic studies that have looked into how touchscreen devices impact on a child’s ability to learn. Dr Rosie Flewitt from the Institute of Education in London studies young children’s communication, language and literacy development in the multi-media age. In an interview with the New Scientist she said: “There is an unquestionable body of research showing new technologies can engage children.”
She goes onto explain how her research has demonstrated that touchscreen technology improves collaboration between children, encourages quieter kids to speak up and helps children progress who previously were struggling to learn using books.
If your school is considering introducing touchscreens into the classroom, either personal devices or front-of-class interactive touchscreens, download ‘Classroom Technology: A Buyers’ Guide’ now for answers to many of your burning questions.