The iPad is making its way to Bert Edwards Science & Technology School in the fall of 2011. The project will see all students in grades 5 and 6 have a tablet device for classroom work.
The tablet device in my mind is a great tool for teaching. With this tool teachers can teach the skills students require to be successful in school. Our project is designed to promote collaboration, problem solving, independent learning, decision making, leadership, and goal setting. The iPad itself is just a technological means to provide a more interesting interactive learning environment for students to excel in.
The iPad or other tablet devices are one manner to change the culture of today’s classrooms. Education needs to grow and adapt to the ways in which learners learn. The three R’s have been replaced with problem solving, collaboration, and communication. The classrooms of the 21st century need to look and feel different than they did 20 years ago. Gone is the time when the teacher knew the most and was the expert in all topics of the world. Today’s students need to explore topics and be innovative in the manner that they present material back to their peers.
At the end of the day technology is still just a teaching tool that when used appropriately provides the skills in reading and numeracy that promotes student success. Students can do amazing things when we collectively move out of the way and allow them the opportunity to impress us.
Ipads, Tabs, Xooms, Playbooks, and whatever else they name the next tablet are the current technology buzz device. A few years ago it was the netbook; which people enjoyed due to its portability and price.
With the tablet market many of the reasons for buying a netbook are similar to why you should purchase a tablet. For myself I like the size of the ipad and the practicality of the device. It is great for meetings, viewing content, social media, and is entertaining. In terms of which device is better only time will tell. The Android marketplace is growing but can a non tech savvy teacher pick up a Galaxy Tab and find the apps and programs they are after in a reasonable amount of time. I think the Tab is a great device and the android Honeycomb operating system is excellent but in my mind it is the familiarity with itunes that makes the difference with the ipad.
For many people the ipad is also a good choice as it is more of a locked down device (think of this as a good thing that prevents you from crashing the device). The problem with viruses in the tablets is greatly reduced and apple is very picky in what apps it makes available for consumers, which means the app will run and do what it states it will.
I plan to use my device (when I get one) to view more content (flipboard, podcasts, e-books), keep better notes that I can actually read (evernote, notability) and be more productive (dropbox, google docs, twitter, mpage).
Tablet devices will be a good device in education if students are allowed to use them as more that a text book reader. The device can create content and as school move to a less paper driven environment it could be the catalyst for change.
Apps in education link
This site is for teaching professionals and administrators. I will be reviewing and commenting on apps for the iphone and ipad as they relate to education. I have found that there are a lot of smartphones out there that are under utilized and with a little prompting perhaps Principals, Vice Principals, and Teachers can appreciate the technology and find ways to make their devices more productive for them.