Tablet technology has potential uses in higher education

The Puyallup Post

 

Megan Hamilton

Contributing writer

Tablets such as iPads, Kindles and Nooks among others are increasingly being used by college students for their technological applications.

These students recognize the potential of these devices for studying, note taking, downloading digital editions of their textbooks and the vast availability of “applications.” The unique features of these tablets such as touch screens and 3-D graphics unavailable on paper bring a new level of interactive learning to the classroom.

Companies and app developers are responding to this emerging market with more creative and innovative options. There are apps for everything from note taking, to Spanish flashcards, to 3-D anatomy and physiology models. Even app development has exploded as a new form of mastery for students majoring in technology-related fields who can apply their programming skills to utilize this medium’s potential in new and creative ways.

Since Barnes & Noble began operating Pierce College Puyallup’s bookstore, the Nook has been featured as a new product available to students. While the Nook lacks the ability to display digital formats of textbooks, it still has many potential uses for students both in and out of the classroom.

According to Puyallup campus bookstore assistant manager Midoli Cram, developers ran trials with e-textbooks to see if consumers liked having large graphic textbooks on the Nook, and they found people didn’t like having the textbooks on the e-reader. An alternative platform was developed to give students a way to download e-books.

Students studying literature in English courses, for example, may be able to purchase and download their books as e-books through the Barnes & Noble catalog online. Students can take this one step further by downloading the Nook Study application, which is capable of being used by both professors and students to enhance the classroom experience.

Students who download the textbooks to their computers can take notes while reading their textbooks or bring the laptop to the classroom as they will be synced to their Nook device. This is a way to bridge the gap that the Nook’s inability to download textbooks could create.

Local libraries are responding to this emerging technology as well. The South Hill branch of the Pierce County Library, for example, has options for library cardholders to check out the digital editions of many books available in the library in hardcopy form. This makes it possible for library patrons to use their services without the need to physically go to the library and it opens up a variety of options for many groups of people.

Students can save money and appreciate the convenience of being able to check out books from anywhere Wi-Fi is available and their tablet or laptop is with them. The possibilities for using this new technology appear to be endless, especially for students. As more students and professors embrace the options tablets present to applications in education, the options increase accordingly; this both presents negative and positive sides. Students must learn to discern between apps that are useful and recognize the lack of control over the apps, which are available to them and may present potentially inaccurate information.

For example, notes and tutorials created by other students, and those that are poorly developed or not helpful to their education are distractions and downfalls of a market open to all who chose to develop apps.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Tablet technology has potential uses in higher education

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