Study Shows Students Leaning Towards Tablet Use

There will come a day when old-fashioned paper textbooks are obsolete. The movement towards e-textbooks has been slow to gain popularity, but digital tablet sales are on the rise. A recent study released by the Pearson Foundation in May 2011 foretells of a digital classroom where students will read textbooks off of their iPads.

Do College Students Want to Use Tablets in Class?

Graduating high schoolers on their way to college and current college students from a range of schools, ethnic groups, geographic regions and socioeconomic backgrounds participated in the Pearson Foundation's survey. Of the 1,414 students who responded, 69% are convinced that iPad-like devices will change the face of the college learning environment in the years to come, but only 20% of the 1,214 college students reported that their professors currently use tablets. Of the college students who own tablets, 86% think that their professors should incorporate tablets into their classroom activities and that the devices improve their ability to study.

Additionally, 48% of the surveyed college students predict that digital textbooks will replace traditional print versions in the next five years. This trend bodes well for Pearson - an international producer of educational materials, including e-textbooks and online course supplements - whose nonprofit foundation initiated the survey.

college student tablet ipad

Envisioning the Digital Classroom of the Future

Generally, it seems that tablets and e-books are seen as sources of entertainment for fun apps and leisurely reading. It will be interesting to follow their transition as they become standard equipment in the digital classrooms of the not-so-distant future.

Digital textbooks are available at a fraction of the cost of traditional paper versions and are easier to keep updated with new research; simply download a new edition. Besides e-books, tablets can also store educational apps.

Imagine sitting in an archaeology class and being able to take a virtual tour of the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii on your tablet while the professor instructs you to 'walk' over to the Temple of Jupiter. Next you prepare for an in-class debate about whether the Pompeiian frescoes in museums should be returned to Italy by calling up a PDF of a journal article on JSTOR. All of these resources - books, maps, videos, reports and more - are instantly at your fingertips without having to get up from your chair. Digital tablets will be the book bags, libraries and perhaps even the classrooms of the iGeneration.

If you're interested in learning more about technology's impact on the classroom, compare students and professors' sentiments about in-class laptop use.

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