Although tablets have been around for decades, it's only ten years since Apple's iPad converted an obscure technology into a must-have. Among their many other uses, they've become a common sight in classrooms, helping students with everything from easily accessing information to helping develop motor skills.
Another important aspect of the tablet in education, though, is its role in online teaching. Since the pandemic began, the role of online teaching has grown dramatically, whether for schools, universities or private tuition. So what are the important things to remember, if you're going to give online classes using a tablet?
The Pros and Cons of Using a Tablet for Online Classes
A tablet is wonderfully flexible. Instead of being tied to your desktop or having to find somewhere to set up your laptop, you can use a tablet from anywhere, providing you can connect to WiFi. In addition, because tablets work entirely on touch, either with the finger or with a pen, you can draw diagrams or even mark work on the go.
The main downside of using a tablet for online classes is the small size of its screen, as well as relying on the battery lasting for the class. However, with good organization, these drawbacks shouldn't prevent you from giving effective lessons through your tablet.
What You Need from Your Tablet
There are obviously some basic needs for a tablet if you're going to be using it to give online classes. For one thing, it's important that it has a substantial battery life, especially if you're going to be teaching for several hours, without the time to recharge.
It's also important for the tablet you choose to work well with the software you want to use. The main types of tablets (Apple, Android, Microsoft, and Galaxy) should be able to host most of the tools you want, but there may be advantages in keeping to one type for specific apps. For instance, if you're relying on Google Suite, you may prefer an Android tablet to an iPad.
Make sure, too, that your tablet allows you to interact in the ways you need. For instance, if you're teaching science or maths, it could be useful to be able to write diagrams or symbols freehand, whereas this might not be as important for teaching languages.
Setting Up Your Tablet
Like your phone, a tablet is highly flexible to use but can be shaky. If you're going to come over as a professional and reliable teacher, make sure it's stable and well-framed before you start the class. You can get a good adjustable tablet holder for around £15, which will allow you to position your tablet as you need.
Although you can use your tablet anywhere, it's obviously important to ensure that you deliver your classes in a situation where you can rely on being left quiet and undisturbed. As long as you have that, a tablet can be just as effective a means of teaching as a larger computer.
If you want to know more about how to give online classes using a tablet, sign up with TutorExtra.