The digital world has been expanding increasing the reading experience through the introduction of e-books. According to Rayner and Clifton (4), electronic books have been outselling print books across the United Kingdom and the United States. Newspapers have also printed headlines affirming people are now preferring reading from a screen. This has also prompted students to rely on iPads and tablets, especially when reading literature materials. Electronic materials are also preferred especially in learning English as they enable readers to read slower and comprehend the language. Caroline and Ninna, however, believe relying on IPads and tablets to learn English will encourage the students to read slower, learn less deeply, and also remember less. This can be attributed to bad sleeping patterns caused by electronic gadgets as they adversely interfere with the students’ brain activities (Myrberg and Wiberg 49). This report will, therefore, discuss if IPads and tablets either positively or negatively affect students’ abilities to learn English.
Caroline and Ninna assert that students are relying on electronic books as a habit and attitude rather than the measurable cognitive effort during learning and reading that makes them prefer IPads, tablets, and other electronic gadgets. They, therefore, addressed the actual reading and learning processes involved when reading from an IPad’s or tablet’s screen compared to the printed paper. They discovered attitude and habit appear to be more important as digital reading materials are regarded as the best alternative to print textbooks when studying. The IPads and tablets are preferred by both students and instructors who learned the English language using the original native print textbooks as they are deemed user-friendly (Myrberg and Wiberg 49).
A seminar was conducted at the Uppsala University Library in Sweden. It was called ‘Mobile Academics’ as it was identifying differences between relying on screen and printed paper in learning and reading. The seminar affirmed that the digital world has been increasing and advancing electronic gadgets. For example, few people owned a computer in the 1980s. Currently, almost everyone owns an electronic gadget including IPads and tablets different in size but providing services as a computer equally. The newly invented electronic gadgets are described as applications seeking to make peoples’ lives easier. Thus, learning English using an IPad or tablet can be made easier as they are user-friendly (Myrberg and Wiberg 51). More so, the screens provide better lighting and contrast hence, more effortful to read on digital media. This has enabled even the older generation to embrace digital reading and learning with less effort. More so, their attitude towards digital screens than actual reading has improved generational and cultural attitude changes embracing reading and learning in a manner less than measurable cognitive effort in reading printed textbooks (Barthakur 2). Thus, IPads and tablets can be applied in teaching and learning English as they encourage the students and instructors to gain knowledge of the language.
Use of E-Books in Learning English
According to Mangen, Walgermo, and Brønnick, relying on IPads and tablets to learn English improves the process. This is because the digital versions of a print textbook can include videos, graphics, and built-in quizzes which invite students to participate and give feedback during the learning process. The digital books also spur positive comments as students using tablets and IPads are often more motivated, engaged, and attentive during the learning process. It should, therefore, be acknowledged that instructors need to engage today’s students as they focus on the format rather than the content of the reading material. As a result, students relying on tablets and IPads have been scoring better grades than those using native print textbooks as their desire and ability to learn enhanced (Mangen, Walgermo, and Brønnick 63).
Educational apps installed on the tablets and IPads, however, also influence the learning process depending on the subject. For example, educational apps focusing on science and mathematics can improve students’ learning process. They can, however, adversely affect students’ learning abilities when focusing on English. According to Stoop, Kreutzer, and Kircz, using digital versions of an unfamiliar reading material prompts students to read the same information several times before gaining the same level of knowledge gained by print readers. Thus, students learning English using print textbooks are more likely to learn the language faster than those relying on IPads and tablets. This is because print textbooks digest fully and understand the material. Students with special learning needs, however, should be considered in evaluating the benefits of e-books and print textbooks in teaching English. Most concrete evidence of the benefits of IPads and tablets in teaching English is based on the fact they build educational gaps among students with special learning needs (Stoop, Kreutzer, and Karcz 373). For example, several apps have been developed to help students suffering from autism. The digital world has therefore been focusing on the wide spectrum of learning disorders by integrating supportive educational apps addressing the challenges affecting students with special learning needs. More so, some tablet apps help in giving students with language delays a voice. Others also help students with learning disabilities to learn to navigate social situations to reduce stress levels. Thus, tablets and IPads are vital when teaching English to students with special learning needs.
Ackerman and Lauterman studied control factors influencing students’ experiences and attitudes. They identified eighty participants required to read from a print textbook and computer screen to differentiate how the two mediums influence students’ performances. The participants were pressured to read for seven minutes. They were also allowed to read different texts freely, but they were interrupted after seven minutes. Participants reading print textbooks performed better when reading under pressure. Both groups, however, scored similar results when reading freely and being interrupted after seven minutes. This affirms that technology-related factors influence students’ attitudes and experiences during the learning process. As a result, instructors should acknowledge that IPads and tablets are here to stay. They should, therefore, find ways of incorporating them in the classroom without adversely affecting the students’ will and desire to rely on them especially in learning English. This is because technology-related factors can cause inferior results among students relying on IPads and tablets compared to their counterparts using print textbooks under similar conditions. Learning English requires students to make accurate calibrations leading to better results as the students are not likely to stop learning even after leaving the classroom. This further improves the student’s confidence in reading and understanding English (Lauterman and Ackerman 457).
In teaching and learning in the 21st century, students report being positive about the use of IPads and tablets. The students regard electronic gadgets as essentials supporting their skills and abilities to navigate school and social lives. For example, they support learners during practice games and collaborative learning by providing personalized learning experiences. IPads and tablets also augment and enhance deep learning as connected, distributed, and ubiquitous learning materials. Thus, educators should identify IPads and tablets as gadgets that can support seamless learning while allowing learners to switch learning contexts between formal and informal as well as social and personal frameworks. Consequently, students are bound to take control of their learning by supplementing what they learn in the classroom in real-time by enquiring further from the web and making digital notes (Ackerman and Lauterman 1817).
Finger-driven tablets and iPad interfaces are bound to motivate and engage students by keeping them interested in learning the English contents even for a prolonged period. They can also allow students to form groups enabling them to interact with the IPad and tablet devices due to the desire to learn English. Consequently, this can enhance and stimulate simultaneous opportunities for face-to-face interactions between students and educators. Such interactions can be limited to the use of desktops and laptops. Netbook computing with mouse-driven screens can also limit classroom interactions between educators and learners. More so, educators can face the challenge of ensuring that each student utilizes the mouse-driven screens responsibly, especially in a large classroom. The IPads and tablets are, therefore, personal peripherals that are light in weight and designed to suit each user’s needs. This can enable the educator to encourage the students to form groups through which each student can be assisted in using the electronic gadgets to learn English at any location within the classroom (Clark and Luckin 8).
Adopting and using tablets and IPads in and outside the classroom in teaching English can also allow students to enhance their learning in ways that were previously considered impossible or not easy. Thus, the students, educators, and parents through the multiple communication features, easy accessibility, and routine availability of IPads and tablets should help in improving the learning process. For example, they should work on combining their technologies with efficient network connectivity and cloud storage to offer increased capacity for collecting and collating data in learning English. Consequently, they can evaluate, assess, and reflect on how the students are improving their reading and writing skills while learning English (Clark and Luckin 9).
Importance and Benefits of Digital Materials
There are several benefits associated with e-books. For example, students learning English using IPads and tablets can access several reading materials without having to carry a heavy load. Thus, instructors should encourage students to embrace IPads and tablets in learning English. This will ensure students’ will and desire are enhanced as they can conduct further research on each aspect of the English language without having to carry and peruse the heavy loads of print textbooks which can be cumbersome (Clark and Luckin 17). E-books have been keen in improving the printed versions of a textbook before turning them into digital copies. For example, English materials can include videos to improve students’ pronunciation of words. Consequently, the students’ performances in learning English improve significantly. IPads and tablets can also be used by instructors to highlight important English words and phrases each student has been facing a challenge to learn writing, pronouncing and reading. Thus, they can enhance scores during tests as the students will focus on their weak areas as they learn English.
IPads and tablets easily update information and assignments. High-resolution videos and audio can also be accessed through IPads and tablets to illustrate and reinforce concepts of learning English. The student and teacher relationship can also be maintained even after the classroom through the exchange of emails and instant messages. For example, a student can request help from an instructor when completing homework and online assignments. Thus, tablets and IPads enable students to interact with learning materials and instructors through the same platform without having to move from their comfortable learning positions. The students can also receive updated versions of learning materials from the instructors as soon as they are released. Ultimately, IPads and tablets expand and improve the process of learning English without the students feeling overwhelmed (Myrberg and Wiberg 53).
According to Clark and Luckin, studies have proven that tablets and IPads improve students in kindergarten to learn as they score higher on literacy tests than their counterparts avoiding the use of e-books. Thus, IPads and tablets should be used in teaching and learning English as they are bound to improve the students’ literacy skills in understanding the language. More so, they can enhance students’ social networking vital in improving their writing and communication skills. For example, social networking can improve a student’s ability to read, write, and speak English words as it will encourage them to avoid spelling mistakes and wrong pronunciations. More so, educators are currently encouraged to be more creative in using social networks as a learning tool. Thus, IPads and tablets can enable educators to join students and share ideas on topics of interest which are a powerful way of interaction that also helps the learners. Consequently, the educators will teach the students to use social networking responsibly to attain the social and educational benefits of using IPads and tablets in diverse aspects of their lives (Mangen, Walgermo, and Brønnick 65).
Lastly, IPads and tablets should be used in teaching English to students with learning disabilities. This is because they improve the students’ skills to read, write, and move by scrolling the electronic gadgets to access more reading materials. Consequently, their motor skills are bound to improve. More so, IPads and tablets enable educators to personalize learning lesson plans, especially for students with special learning needs. For example, they enable educators to easily and creatively tailor lesson plans while addressing each student’s learning challenge and needs. Consequently, educators can rely on the digital world to enhance the students’ learning experiences using the IPads and tablets (Mangen, Walgermo, and Brønnick 68).
IPads and tablets assist students in learning English to research topics online and brainstorm presentations. They can also be used by students keen on writing music and poems as they enable easy to educational materials supporting digital mind mapping and annotation of texts. Before incorporating the IPads and tablets, students, educators, and parents should ensure the electronic gadgets are appropriately utilized. For example, they should understand what the students understand before the educators identify the teaching plan addressing the personalized lesson plans in each classroom. Learners should also ensure the IPads and tablets enable them complete classroom tasks while facing appropriate challenges. For example, electronic gadgets should enable students to complete online assignments. The educator, however, should ensure the challenges faced by the students in completing the online assignments encourage them to conduct further online research rather than fail completely (Rayner and Clifton 7). Consequently, educators and parents should identify reasonable grounds for enabling the learners to engage in skill and social games. The games should not be too simple. More importantly, they should be adapted for educational purposes to enhance and support deeper and authentic learning of English (Clark and Luckin 10).
IPads and tablets are not designed for productivity as they substitute keyboards with touch screens. They, however, provide clear opportunities for collaboration, distribution, and connectivity of support networks. Educators and parents should, therefore, assist students to rely on the opportunities to combine with the ever-increasing capacity to gather data during a learning activity. The learners’ interactions can also be captured, stored, and analyzed to identify the areas they are facing challenges in learning English. Ultimately, IPads and tablets should be effectively used to enhance the English learning process while monitoring students’ skills and abilities to comprehend the subject (Clark and Luckin 11).
In conclusion, introducing and implementing IPads and tablets in teaching and learning English can impact students’ as well as educators’ attitudes and motivations. Foremost, tablets and IPads facilitate the achievement of several core elements required within the curriculum for excellence. Thus, they can enable students to develop aspirations to learn. Personalized IPads and tablets transform access to and use of digital books within and outside the classroom. Thus, personally owned IPads and tablets should be allowed in the classroom as they enable students and educators to use them successfully. For example, they significantly change educators’ approaches to their professional role in changing how students regard the English subject and language. Consequently, they can be utilized to encourage parents to be more engaged in their children’s schoolwork and learning abilities. Ultimately, the use of IPads and tablets should be encouraged as they positively impact educator’s and students teaching and learning of English within and outside the classroom.
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