Writer specializing in information and communication technologies, Marc-André Brouillard was at the Consumer Electronics Show, which was held from January 6 to 9 in Las Vegas. Here are three trends he has observed in which ICTs are at the service of education.
The electronic tablet as a new learning tool
Star product of CES 2011, where no less than 80 models were presented to 140,000 visitors, the electronic tablet is relatively new on the market. It established itself in 2010 in the ICT news with the launch of the Apple iPad. Many saw it as a great educational vehicle since the product combined the advantages of the digital book reader and the laptop computer in addition to offering an interactive and fun user experience thanks to its touch screen.
At CES 2011, several manufacturers like Samsung, Blackberry, Asus or Motorola unveiled tablets filling some of the iPad's shortcomings, such as its inability to access Web content (several games and videos) in Flash format, the absence of a USB or HDMI port and front and rear cameras, allowing video calls. Thus, by the end of 2011, many electronic tablets promise to compete advantageously with the portable computer.
However, the relatively small screen of these devices, the impossibility of adding a physical keyboard or a support, in certain cases, and its relatively high cost could make many hesitate.
However, some manufacturers believe they can appeal to students with tablets designed especially for them. The Acer Iconia offers a dual screen that can be used like a book, and the Kno and My Spark tablets, are used with a stylus with which it is possible to highlight and annotate pages. of a digital book.
Take advantage of educational apps
Today, teachers notice that several students in their class have a smartphone or an iPod Touch-type media player. These mobile devices allow their users to download free applications associated with several genres: games, music, services, etc. Education apps make mobile learning possible outside the classroom. Thus, a teacher can offer his students an application to enrich a second language, geography or mathematics lesson. In addition, since the application stores (Apple's App Store or Google's Android Market) are open to third-party developers, an educational institution could submit an application specially designed for its students. This year at CES, in addition to electronic tablets that provide access to various online application stores, the Samsung company unveiled a multimedia player, the Galaxy Player, which will provide access to Google's Android Market.
The digital book in the classroom
During the HigherEd Tech Summit, held at CES, Walt Mossberg, journalist at Wall Street Journal, wondered about the future of digital books in the classroom. According to him, students should pay less for books and he believes that this reality will be made possible by the digital book. “I believe it is more affordable to move pixels than atoms,” he told the conference.
While the issue of costs related to the production and sale of digital books remains open, the fact remains that initiatives are continuing in this sector. At CES, we will have been able to discover the services offered by Copia, an application for digital books, which makes it possible to join a community of readers to share their reading experiences. In addition, there was also a demonstration of the first portable book scanner, the Booksaver from the company Ion. The device, which converts the pages of a book into PDF format two at a time, however, requires a lot of patience from the user.