Over 65% of teachers, children report positive experience using tablets

MUT urges better support and follow-up systems for technology used in education

The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) said that over 65% of respondents of an online survey into the tablet pilot project for schools, had found the experience positive.

Only 6.2% who responded to the survey held in May, said that the tablets had been a waste of time.

MUT vice-president Marco Bonnici said the survey revealed many outstanding issues yet to be hammered out, such as who will supply and be responsible for the tablets, what operating system will be used and whether the technology will be tied in to others in class. 

“We hope that maintenance of the tablets won’t be a repeat of the laptops’ fiasco, with out-dated tablets falling to pieces. If this happens it would be a catastrophe for the whole system as textbooks and books are steadily being replaced by electronic resources on tablets,” Bonnici said.

422 respondents took part in the tablets’ survey, including both educators and students, with 49 being directly involved in the pilot project.

97.96% of respondents said that it was important that tablets were piloted in a number of schools, with 73.4% of those in the pilot project saying that students were more motivated and interested.

The percentage of people who felt that class control and learning were improved by the system, stood at a 38.78%.

The MUT will be launching an online campaign promoting better use of technology for the enhancement of the educational experience.

The campaign will be carried out through electronic communication with the use of the union’s website, social networks and email. “What we’re saying here is that technology – like all tools – should be at the service of education, and not the other way round,” MUT president Kevin Bonello said.

The union said that several respondents said that before introducing new technology, educators should be offered more training.

71.43% of those involved in the tablets’ pilot project and 75.34% of those not involved stated that the use of tablets must be at the discretion of teachers, while 95.92% of those involved and 88.2% of those not involved stated that software installed on tablets should include a management system to view what the student is watching on the tablet.

The biggest disagreement between those who took part in the pilot project and those who did not was on whether they agreed if students should take tablets home (87.76% and 45.05% respectively) and on whether tablets should be left at school in lockers (14.29% and 57.64% respectively).

This shows the educators’ concern on who will ultimately be responsible for the devices especially in cases of breakages or other incidents.

30.61% of respondents who were involved in the project stated that they looked forward to start using tablets in class, while 46.94% agreed but with the improvements they suggested.