Forbidden fruit? Student views on the use of tablet PCs in education
Technology, Pedagogy and Education
In the Republic of Ireland, the decision to introduce interactive technology into secondary schools is typically made at the school level. Tablet PCs are argued to be one form of technology with the potential to promote more student-centred teaching and learning. This article qualitatively examines the student voice on the benefits, drawbacks and potential for this technology, drawing on a thematic analysis of 32 semi-structured student focus group interviews from a theoretical sample of 10 secondary schools of differing ICT orientation. A key finding is that tablet PCs provide another way to actively engage students – provided other conditions such as reliable school and home Internet are satisfied. The article also highlights how students could play an important role in school decision making in this area. Findings suggest that maximising the benefits of this new technology requires ongoing evidence and evaluation, especially during a time of rapid technological advancement.