Should there be a future for Tablet PCs in schools?

Twining, Peter; Evans, Diane; Cook, Deirdre; Ralston, John; Selwood, Ian; Jones, Ann; Underwood, Jean; Scanlon, Eileen; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Dillon, Gayle; McAndrew, Patrick and Sheehy, Kieron (2005). Should there be a future for Tablet PCs in schools? Journal of Interactive Media in Education, article no. p.Art. 20.



Tablet PCs are a relatively new format of computer, which seem to offer features which may be beneficial to schools. The uptake of Tablet PCs by schools has been somewhat limited, not least due to their greater cost than laptops of a 'similar' specification. This paper explores the key question of the extent to which schools should be investing in Tablet PCs, if at all, in preference to other formats of fully functional PCs, drawing on evidence from a Becta funded evaluation of the use of Tablet PCs in schools in England conducted in 2004-2005. The Computer Practice Framework was used to develop a set of questions which helped structure a meta-analysis of the data from 12 case studies that formed part of this evaluation. The methodology used and some limitations of the evaluation are outlined, and the key findings are described. The paper concludes that Tablet PCs do appear to offer significant potential to schools, though this potential was not being fully realised in most of the case study schools. A number of specific circumstances in which Tablet PCs do appear to be the most cost effective option are also identified.

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