The Direct Network

iPads in the Classroom

Posted by Joe Clarkin on Jul 29, 2015 4:00:00 AM
Topics: digital content, K-12

Laptops were the first handheld piece of technology to find its way into students hands in the classroom, and while they remain common, more and more schools are trending towards tablets these days, specifically iPads. In this article from Edudemic, they cover the questions your school should be asking if you're considering this option for your students. Check out the excerpt below, and be sure to give the article a full read here.shutterstock_270278432

The Necessity of Asking the Right Questions Before You Invest

Have you ever gone to the doctor, with a diagnosis already in your head, but when he reviewed your symptoms, he came up with a completely different conclusion?

Sometimes, with an educational diagnosis, just as in the case of a medical one, we skip over the symptoms and go straight to the answer. Consider taking a step back and asking a few hard questions first, to fully understand and confirm the issues that you have, and that the iPad is designed to address.

Why Do You Need an iPad?

How will it benefit you? Sure, it’s cool. It’s trendy. But how does it enhance your teaching specifically? How will it help your students? Maybe you want to encourage students’ love of writing by using apps that create books. Maybe your science class is studying astronomy and you want them to use an app that, when used outside at night, shows the constellations. Perhaps you want to reduce the amount of paper used in the classroom and think digital documents would be an improvement. Having a well-thought out purpose for how you’ll use the iPad as a tool to improve your students’ learning is key

Would the iPad support your current or desired lesson plans? Or, on the other hand, will you need to build your lesson plan around the new technology? Unless you’ve already discovered a strong need to revamp your teaching, the technology should augment, not overshadow, your lessons.

What other solutions will address your issue? Clearly an iPad is not the only way to encourage a love or reading or writing. Books, newspapers, magazines, hard copies or on school computer, can build a love of reading. Google Drive and group assignments can spur collaboration. So what is it about the iPad makes it a must have for your class.

Does It Have to be an iPad?

Band-Aid. Kleenex. Magic Marker. We often use these product brand names for any bandage, tissue or pen. Are we doing the same when we talk about having an iPad in the classroom? In other words, if you’ve determined that your class can truly benefit from using portable tablets in the classroom, do those have to be iPads?

True, Apple provides significant support for the use of iPads in education, with apps, books, music and movies. But Apple isn’t the only option.

By the end of 2014, Chromebooks, combined with Google Play for Education apps were the mostpopular new device going to U.S. schools, displacing iPads. Chrome books are less expensive than iPads, and include an integrated keyboard, but have fewer apps available.

If you’re considering portable technology in your classroom, look at the options before automatically assuming you must have a specific device.

Or, as some educators recommend, consider making a combination of several tablets devices available to students to use for different needs.

About Joe Clarkin

Joe Clarkin is a former copywriter at MBS. When he’s not working or studying, you’re most likely to find him reading a book or watching a game.

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