- Obstacles in adopting tablets

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Initial obstacles for tablet adoption in education are cost and adherence to the status quo of the standard educational system. Cost may become less of a barrier in the next several years, as price drops will likely accelerate in the future, following the cost curves of other computing devices. Nicolas Negroponte founder of the MIT Media Lab and One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative envisioned the $100 laptop promoting education in the developing world in 2005. Five years later the OLPC group has announced the $100 tablet aimed at early 2011 (Van Grove, 2010).


Technical difficulties plague existing technology roll-outs of tablets and internet-equipped devices in general, as time is wasted in set-up and tear-down, access and connectivity. In addition, teachers and administrators are not technically trained and technical support is frequently inadequate. Even in areas where technology might actually make teachers and administrators lives easier (i.e. grading), there is high resistance to adoption from school staff. Schools have not been physically designed with technology in mind (Prensky, 2006).


The largest barrier to adoption however may be simple resistance to change. The dominant generation of teachers and administrators are "digital immigrants". In stark contrast to today's "digital native" kids, teachers learned about and adapted to digital technology late in life, and they retain pre-digital biases i.e. the concept that virtual relationships are less important than face-to-face ones. As a result, adoption is limited to "dabbling" or at most doing old things in new ways (Prensky 2006). A five-step framework for adoption of any technology in the classroom has been proposed by education technology researchers: Familiarization, Utilization, Integration, Reorientation, and Evolution. Obstacles may occur at any point in this life-cycle, and may incorporate internal (personal attitude, beliefs, demographics), as well as external (availability of technical personnel and support) factors (Rogers, 2000).


References:

- Rogers, Patricia. Barriers To Adopting Emerging Technologies In Education. http://askellogg.com/theblog/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/rodgers-barriers-to-adopting-emerging-technologies.pdf

- Prensky, Marc. Edutopia Blog: Shaping Technology for the Classroom. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt

- Van Grove, Jennifer. One Laptop Per Child to Produce $100 Tablet. http://mashable.com/2010/05/27/olpc-xo-3/