Tablets – An Integrated Experience in Learning

Norman Winarsky spoke with Mashable to discuss how tablets are changing the user experience and how they search for information.  In the article How Tablets Are Changing the Way We Search, Mr Winarsky talks about how engagement with the screen, keyboard, speakers, microphone and two different cameras (on both front and back of the device) can impact how you connect with the information you look for and receive on your tablet.

Already Google’s launch of Google Goggles is making good use of portable devices.  In Goggles you can take a picture of an image or capture a recording of a sound and it will automatically use Google’s search engine to provide searches related to your audio/visual query.

In education, this can have profound effects on young learners or those with learning difficulties.  Information can be supplied easier through multiple sensory elements, not just through typing search terms into a search engine.

However, given my own research using mobile devices in art museums, the problem with Goggles now is that the information you find through Google’s search engine can be lacking.  One issue is that the most popular site listed is often Wikipedia.  And although I believe Wikipedia has its uses in education, since there is sometimes issues with credibility, it takes additional time teaching students how to be good source critics. 

Then for more obscure searches, you have to change your search terms to find relevant information, defeating the purpose of multi sensory searches.  And for very popular searches, say capturing an image of a Monet painting, it returns pages and pages of websites selling posters, calendars, cards and other merchandise which easily looses your audience’s attention to have to sort through to find information.

For now it seems the tools are advancing faster than the information accessed through them.  There is a need to create a better educational aggregator that works in tandem with applications like Google Goggles to connect students with the right information faster.

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