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Teachers Over 40 May Delay Computer Tablet Use: Thai Education

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EDUCATION

Teachers over 40 may delay tablet use

Wannapa Khaopa,

Saowanee Nimpanpayungwong

The Nation

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Those aged from 40 to 50 seen as being slow to learn, may require extra training

BANGKOK: -- A major concern over the use of tablet computers in the coming school semester is the high average age of first-grade teachers. Some 70 per cent of the 450,000 teachers in primary and secondary schools are between 40 and 50 years old - and that could be a problem, a senior Office of the Basic Education Commission official said.

Because older teachers tend to be slower learners, a 50-minute training period may not be enough for them. Students might also be unimpressed with their teachers' performance on the tablets, which may be inferior to theirs, said Anek Rattapiyaphorn, director of the OBEC's Technology for Learning and Teaching Bureau.

This was seen in training on technology-related subjects previously given to such teachers. They regularly forgot what they learnt. "Hiring assistants for teachers in first grade is too large a fiscal burden - [it's too much] to hire an additional 30,000 positions," Anek said.

There were other factors and facilities needed for the use of tablet computers, which were unequal among state schools, said Ritthichai Onming, director of Srinakharinwirot University's (SWU) Centre for Educational Media and Technology.

"Many schools do not even have electricity for charging batteries, let alone an Internet connection, which is vital for their use."

He said key to the use of tablet computers was still appropriate teaching. The units and technology coming with them were just supporting factors.

Findings of a study on the impact of tablet use on students will be announced on May 11. However, researchers fear that people from different groups with a different bias will slant the findings improperly for their own benefit.

"We are concerned they will use only the findings that agree with their demand to support the demand and push it forward," Asst Prof Chalermchai Boonyaleepun, president of SWU told Nation Group recently. "I don't want ones who oppose tablet use to cite only negative impacts and others who support tablet use to cite only positive impacts. I don't want them to tell half the truth."

He was not sure how much the government would consider or use the findings and SWU's recommendations on tablet use while it implements the promised One Tablet PC per Child policy. But he expected people will monitor how government uses the findings and recommendations.

Some people had questioned whether the university was doing the study to support the government but he insisted the findings were independent and could be trusted. No one from the Pheu Thai-led administration had been involved in the study or forced researchers to issue findings that satisfy the government, he said.

With time short for a study on the impact of tablet use on students, SWU could not clearly identify all impacts. The university wants to continue studying impacts that are unable to be identified clearly, Chalermchai said.

"Students had only used them for a semester while our researchers were studying the tablets' impact on them. The period was too short to see, for instance, impact on eyesight.

"SWU is ready to continue studying the incomplete topics and would like the government to provide financial support for it."

Chalermchai also urged the government to have experts do research before it issues policies that will affect the public. "The government should not only listen to recommendations from academics or experts but it should decide policies based on research."

The tablet study project is called Integrating Technology to Enhance Learning. It studied the impact of tablet use on students' health and behaviour, as well as the behaviour and attitude of teachers, parents and people in nearby communities towards tablet use. It will provide recommendations and guidelines for suitable tablet use in class.

The research was conducted with Prathom 1 and 4 students (Grade 1 and 4 students) at five schools in different regions around the country.

The researchers and teachers from those schools had a meeting this month to share problems they face and discuss ways that they addressed them. SWU gathered their information to create lesson plans and guidelines for teachers.

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-- The Nation 2012-04-30

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Just give the kids the tablets, they will teach the teachers

I agree, also everyone needs a starting point. Everything's gonna be alright :-)

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What tablets are we discussing here? Anyone seen a tablet connected with this program?

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a 50 minute lesson to teach the teachers how to use a tablet is not long enough.

Like the suggestion above, just give them to the kids and get them to watch a video on how to use it, and make sure it is locked so they cannot download cartoons or other stuff onto it.

Really each tablet should be issued when required and returned when the student has finished with it, this would also decrease the actual number of tablets required.

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Send the teachers back to school or sack them, the tablet is a glorified mobile phone, everyone has one of those right. If you can't get your head around a user friendly tablet you shouldn't be teaching. Simple.

Yep sacking the teachers should solve the problem - its so simple. I fail to see the relationship between being able to use a computer tablet and being a good teacher or in your eyes is it -a good teacher can use a computer tablet - why?

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Send the teachers back to school or sack them, the tablet is a glorified mobile phone, everyone has one of those right. If you can't get your head around a user friendly tablet you shouldn't be teaching. Simple.

Yep sacking the teachers should solve the problem - its so simple. I fail to see the relationship between being able to use a computer tablet and being a good teacher or in your eyes is it -a good teacher can use a computer tablet - why?

I'll take a crack at interpreting the statement to which you're replying...

It's equivalent to saying, "if you're too stupid to learn how to tie your own shoes, you don't belong in a classroom in front of the nation's youth," or, "if you have difficulty putting your food onto a spoon, then into your mouth, chewing and then swallowing, your position should be on the fringes of society, definitely not in any core roles."

Maybe I've read the original statement incorrectly... but if not, then I have to agree with it.

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Those aged from 40 to 50 seen as being slow to learn, may require extra training

MP's, Ministers, Gouvernment staff included?

Yes, they're slow to learn... but this has nothing to do with tablet computing!

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Funny , I am between 45 to 49 , just bought a tablet last year and it took me very short time to understand how it works... the first 15 minutes I already knew most of the things ..lol this is a wrong statement .... unless some teachers are really ......not clever enough.

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"Many schools do not even have electricity for charging batteries, let alone an Internet connection, which is vital for their use."

This is news?! This was said repeatedly before and during (and now since) the entire debacle began. But the decision-makers just continued to keep their ears blocked and their minds closed (but their mouths open!). Now they must all be crying as they're seeing none of the kick back money from the purchase of 1M tablets. I wonder what the return is on a textbook?

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"Students might also be unimpressed with their teachers' performance on the tablets,"

Does it mean they are impressed the rest of the time?

Just vile irony: a lot of good and loved teachers in Thailand.

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