The six years old Tartu Private School will, starting next academic year, switch to tablet computers in 1st, 4th and 7th grades – traditional paper textbooks taking a step towards becoming history.
According to Tartu Private School (TPS) headmaster Urmo Uiboleht, transfer to electronic study tools largely depends on cooperation by textbook publishers. «At the moment, Koolibri has been most diligent in this. By fall, we’ve been promised 17 different e-textbooks, adaptable for tablet computers,» said Mr Uiboleht.
According to the headmaster, tablets are no longer a sign and a wonder in lessons, TPS having tested them for two years already.
The experience has been positive. The question remains, however, how to use the computers in an easy-to-manage, secure and comfortable way. In all probability, the school will stick to Apple’s iPads, as these are clear leaders of the field – with largest number of apps and handy to use.
The novelty mainly concerns Estonian, math and science lessons. However, according to teacher Liisi Griffel, almost all subjects can soon be taught via tablets. «They can be planned into every lesson. We don’t have to use them 45 minutes running; it’s additional helps like a workbook,» explained Ms Griffel.
According to Ms Griffel, using tablets helps kids into the world of technology, from early age, teaching them to make the most of it.
«With iPads, we can bring the whole world into the classroom. It is no longer the teacher providing the information; more and more, the kids will be searching for it, and finding it,» said Ms Griffel, pointing to the interactive options of e-textbooks.
With tablet-studies, the kids’ schoolbags ought to get lighter as well, with no need to haul heavy paper textbooks home.
«Textbooks won’t be needed, but some workbooks will have to stay,» said the teacher and added that at first stage of study, manual activity is essential. However, a 7th grade dictation might be done in a tablet.
Pop quizzes can be done using special internet environments.
«I’ll prepare the questions and upload them, the kids log in and write their answers; afterwards I’ll download them,» she explained, saying the students like using tablets in class a lot.
«For youngest students, it really does add a playful touch,» she added.