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Tablets in prisons: the device monopoly

Schools are faced with a difficult decision - what technology would work best in the classroom? Laptops, tablets, smartphones, or something else? And, does it really matter? An interesting article on made me think about how we deal with this in prisons: inmate Educational Solutions... what kind of device to choose?

The distribution of small tablets in Correctional Facilities all over the world is going fast. The benefits of enabling digital services to inmates for daily activities, entertainment, communication and learning are great. But often the positive aspects of enabling inmate participation, engagement and learning by using technology is overwhelmed by a device-oriented discourse: "the tablet"

It’s clear that a device cannot replace a teacher or a face to face contact with staff. Therefore it’s crucial that the introduction of technology is part of an overall well thought-trough strategy to avoid negative side-effects. As for the device: the article’s option on BYOD will not make it for corrections for obvious security reasons, but it does helps us to think about which type of device is best suitable for which purpose: maybe a 7inch tablet is not the best fit for an extensive course where active involvement of the offender is needed and we should be looking into more ‘Lean Forward’ solutions. The roll-out of some gamebox-sized devices in prisons will definitely not discharge correctional agencies of their obligation to offer qualitative and differentiated education & training for offenders which should include suitable didactic methodologies and materials.

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