Tablets for Study?

by Guest Poster, Corey Stratford.

We have all seen the guy walking around campus with the almighty glow from his hands: that being a tablet computer. Well, welcome to the club as you are about to get a brief 101 on tablets and their uses. Some of you may still be unaware, but the tablet computer is becoming a great tool for all students. Ditching the folders, the novels, textbooks and pens, more and more of us are switching to these devices. Reason being that they weigh far less, cost far less and are far better looking.

Amazon Kindle on top of an Apple iPad

by Kodomut, Flickr

Tablets are perfect for education. Having the ability to carry thousands of novels and textbooks (not to mention magazines and newspapers) in your pocket is mind blowing. How practical is having a note pad, pen, and your textbook all in one device? There are thousands of apps available for all tablet computers and hundreds of them are free. They range from books, to photo editing, web creation, financial management, and games, the list goes on. As more publishers are creating gorgeous looking electronic texts at a fraction of the price; it makes better sense to buy these rather than the physical editions.

“Well what shall I go for? There are too many!” Well it firstly comes down to budget and functionality. Tablets start around £89 and power up to £399; the latter tend to be powerful and stunning looking machines. If you’re wanting to check your timetables, assignment diaries or reserve a book from the library gateway; the majority of Wi-Fi enabled tablets work with ease. To connect, choose one of the free Wi-Fi hubs located all around the campus and pop in your details. Simple. Unlimited access to the internet and no need to scout for a free space in Adsetts. If you are still thinking the prices are too excessive think about this: Calculate how much you spend on textbooks, novels and software. Then apply additional costs like office supplies and time wasted searching second hand shops for specific texts. Then multiply this by the amount of semesters your course has. I can assure you that buying even the cheapest of tablets will save your pocket and all the headaches.

As tablets are electronic devices it’s easy to assume that majority of tutors will not allow the use of them in class. Well this is not true. In an English course for example, it makes perfect sense to own texts electronically for many reasons I’ve already mentioned. Just think how cost effective it will be for the university and for students to look at question sheets or extracts (even Power-Points) on a tablet rather than handing out stacks of paper. How about downloading the lecture slides before your morning session and getting a head start on the bus. There is an app for pretty much everything most of which are free.

If you have an eye for tech then you know the vast amount of tablet PCs on the market, and the one everyone has heard of, is the distinguished iPad. That aside, there is one thing you should know. Apple is expected to refresh the iPad line up to the 3rd generation ‘iPad 3’ in the upcoming months. This is officially unconfirmed however, but Apple updates all the product line-up annually and the pattern indicates next month is the iPad’s turn. Whether you are a fan or not, this will create a domino effect on all competitors in the tablet market. The new refresh from Apple will force major competitors like Samsung, and Blackberry to drop their prices for their outdated products. Many say that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be a price to watch. So now is the best time to start thinking about your very own tablet computer.

Tablets are getting way more popular than carting around chubby and unreliable laptops. They fit almost anywhere and are far more practical. I know Christmas seems a long time ago but why not treat yourself to something useful for this semester? Wait for the new iPad3 next month and watch the falling prices of its brothers.

This post was written by Corey Stratford, who is studying for a BA in English at Hallam. It is part of a series of articles written by Hallam students about aspects of technology which interest them and that they feel can enhance the studying experience.

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