Thursday, March 31, 2011

The iPad Tablet Makes a Fantastic Learning Tool for Students

On Mar 31, 2011, at 6:13 PM, Leslie wrote:

"And as a former kindergarten teacher, I know I can speak for most others - we are even most impressed when children come to school with more interaction with books than computers".

Good the thing the iPad is an ebook reader too, LOL. The tablet will male a fantastic tool for our current and future students. It is the first piece of technology that makes sense for students, teachers and administrators. We have to not just throw technology at the children, but really think about the technology and where we can properly apply it. We also have to realistic on what we hold on too.

Think about it, we still teach cursive in school, but I am not sure it is still relevant. When was the last time, we used it besides possibly for our signatures? Will the touch type be the new cursive? The though of it is extreme - let the flaming begin. Whether we like it or not, the tablet computer will no doubt be a tool for the new kids. A single tablet can store all the books they will need from k-12, though college. Backpacks are no longer require, nor the Chiropractors' bills.

It can provide lessons as both audio and video. Papers can be sent and returned via the Internet. Imagine being able to not only recall your lessons from grade four, but to be able to see the actual textbook, lesson plans, and graded papers. Sure in a perfect world, that would be the scenario - reality dictates that greed will only allow a more controlled and restricted version of this possibility.

Biology 101, there's an app for that! Imagine, not just books available, but entire classes as an app. Interactive instructional content delivered to the students' tablets as needed. Bonus material and even extra study material can be purchased as in-app purchases. These apps will make opportunities more accessible, but it will still require initiative, money and commitment to the goal by the students and their family to ensure the student excels and rises to the top of the heap. Do students get a iTunes card for the year to purchase the books or do school give Promo codes for books? These things will be discussed and decided.

The camera come in handy as well, teachers can have more impromptu and frequent parent and teacher FaceTime conference. Parents that can't easily make the meetings in person now have some FaceTime with the teacher. What about GPS? Parents could keep tabs on their children's whereabouts. I know privacy advocates will frown on this, but it is not their children. Proper protections will have to be in place. Privacy, ownership of the device and data access from school personnel are just a few of the issues that will need to be addressed first. People are already looking to make this technology work in schools. Reed College recently published a report about this subject, here is an exe rcpt:

After extensive student interviews throughout the Fall 2010 semester, “The bottom line feeling was that the Amazon Kindle DX was not adequate for use in a higher education curricular setting,” Chief Technology Officer Martin Ringle tells Fast Company. “The bottom line for the iPad was exactly the opposite.”

The most impressive iPad feature was also the simplest: a smooth scrolling touchscreen. “The quick response time of the touch screen was highly praised and seemed to be extremely beneficial in class discussions because it allowed students to navigate rapidly between texts to reach specific passages,” notes the report.

Add the smooth scrolling touch screen to the growing list of positives for the iPad:
  • battery life,
  • the apps,
  • the size,
  • the weight

    On the business school front, IMD (The International Institute for Management Development) broke ground by giving all 400 participants in its Orchestrating Winning Performance executive programme (spelling intentional as this ‘program’ is based in Europe) iPads back in April 2010 just after the iPad was released. The intent for using iPads in the Orchestrating Winning Performance program was to run a completely paperless program. No text books, no handouts, no printed reports or case studies.

    Many other programs are initially attracted to the iPad for its form factor and for the ability to reduce the need to carry around heavy text books. But now, these same programs are looking beyond just delivering course materials to see how the iPad might influence the learning environment in other ways – like team based learning, the culture, communications, etc.

    At Iese Business School in Barcelona, which is running an iPad pilot with 60 EMBA participants from April, assistant professor Evgeny Kaganer says the device will enable participants to remain in touch when they are back at work between modules. “For the full-time MBA students this is less important because they are on campus and they see each other all the time.” Prof Kaganer points out that the pilot has to be more than just a means of distributing course texts.

    “We want to run a research study, observing how people interact. How does this [tablet device] affect team-based learning, social culture, collaboration. The critical thing is that it should go beyond delivering course materials.”

    At Wharton, as in some of these other programs, administrators want to see if the use of the iPad is really the next stage in the evolution of teaching.

    On the other end of the spectrum we can see a marked impact on behavior when using the iPad with autistic and other learning disabled youth. The article referenced below tells an amazingly touching story about a young boy that has ended up using the iPad for vocalizing his thoughts during class – as the particular type of autism he has was impacting his vocal chords. Until using the iPad to articulate what he was learning and what he knew, no one in his environment had any idea what he was picking up and what he wasn’t. There are obvious benefits for the students and schools.

    The tablet will be used in schools, more sooner than later. Those who resist will fall behind. Those that embrace the concept will reap the benefits.


    Reed College Report

    Business Schools testing iPads

    iPads used for Autism

    By Carl W. Brooks

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