Keeping tabs on tablets

Initial euphoria has faded due to touch screen troubles and poor battery life

Children were initially pleased to have a tablet in their hands, but the process of learning from the Chinese-made devices has often not been smooth, based on information collected from teachers and students.

HARDWARE PROBLEMS

The tablets have been plagued with problems such as limited battery life, no auto cut-off system, defective touch screens and slow processing.

A director of a primary school in Chon Buri whose name was withheld revealed that fully-charged tablets were running out of battery after being used for only a few hours, even though they should last for at least six hours according to a manual.

Last year, her small-sized school was offered 16 tablet computers.

The software is useful for students, especially those in suburban areas with poor access to modern learning tools.

"But the problem is with the tablet hardware," she pointed out.

Many tablets are shutting down for no reason even though the battery level icon shows they are full, she said.

Furthermore, she said that after tablets were offered to all Prathom 1 students, problems arose when a new student enrolled at the school during the semester.

With the new student not offered the tablet like the others, the pupil's father decided to buy one himself to keep his child from feeling alienated, she said.

She added the tablets succeeded in encouraging young students' curiosity and attention to studies, but now they were paying less interest in the devices.

TABLET OWNERSHIP

Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said the tablets were considered a learning material which belonged to the schools.

Therefore, if students moved to study at other schools, they had to return the gadget to their former institutions.

Asked how he would resolve a situation where students move to study at another primary school where there are no tablets, Mr Chinnapat said the number of such cases is small.

However, Obec is still searching for a solution for such circumstances, he said.

When asked what would be done if the tablets, which have a two-year warranty, were still in use into a third year, he said Obec will look into this matter later.

But if the tablets were still in use in the third year, Obec will develop content for them, he added.

LACK OF INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE

A school director from Chiang Rai said the lack of internet infrastructure was a big problem as his school was situated in a mountainous and remote area.

As a result the tablets are always used offline, he said.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Anudith Nakornthap said that up to 90% or about 30,000 schools nationwide are already connected to broadband internet in collaboration with TOT Plc and CAT Telecom Plc.

ACCESS TO IMPROPER WEBSITES

Many parents were afraid their children might open inappropriate websites using the tablets. As a result, ICT has paid up to 120 million baht to hire SAP Co to develop software to prevent young users from opening improper online content via the tablets.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Lamphai Intathep
Position: Reporter