BENEFITS OF TABLET USAGE IN ELEARNING AS A TOOL IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS OF TEACHING GENETICS
The object of this research is to investigate if the use of the tablet can bring benefits to the teaching and learning process of genetics. Our theoretical framework was constituted primarily by Activity Theory and current research in mobile learning. Two teaching and learning activities on related genetic content via tablet use were then elaborated and analyzed based on the Second Generation of Activity Theory. The first was an individual activity of knowledge representation, through elaboration of mental maps. The second was a collective activity of knowledge representation done through group presentations on the specified topics. The participants of the research were 34, third year, high school students at the Colégio Cruzeiro do Sul high school (Southern Cross High School); 02 teachers and 02 computer technicians to provide technical support during the elaboration of the activities. About 90% of the surveyed students agreed that benefit was seen in tablet use during the formulation process. Some students see the tablet as an extension of their bodies in which hands, eyes and the device itself work together in harmony and in a coordinated manner, producing desired results. Where this harmony with tablet use and having the device itself as a commonly used learning instrument is observed, accentuated learning is also seen, being that the hands, eyes and device triad form what is meant in Activity Theory as a "functional body", which means that no separating boundary between the inner body and the artifact is observed. What is noticed is only one integrated and inseparable unit of human functioning. The most recurrent feature reported by 35% of asked students was the fact that with this device, students could gain access to a vast number of internet resources. In addition to this point students reported as benefits that tablet use in proposed activities was instrumental in: practicality, interactivity, increased interest in the given topic as well as in highlighting the motivational aspect of study along with ease of research and the handling of gathered information.