Shift Happens

In my last blog post, I talked about schools continually updating their technology and I gave some example of technology resources I thought were important to have in a school’s library media center. One of the suggestions I made, was to bring in at least one class set of iPads or Chromebooks. Here is my opinion on the 1-to-1 iPad trend:

Do I think schools are moving in the right direction? The short answer is yes (without making it a comparison post about iPads vs. Chromebooks). I really like what they are doing with the iPads and the interactive and engaging activities. Students are also excited about it so they want to do the projects. The learning is more engaging since the students are able to access so much more than with paper and pencil. There are apps that allow students to dissect animals and there are apps allow students to write stories and get them published through Apple. These types of activities make students excited because they take learning outside the classroom and apply it to real life situations. This makes the information take on an application role in the classroom and less of a memorization role. The iPads put a new twist on learning that can really make the students excited and engaged.

If this is the way schools are going, is it a sustainable trend? I believe this trend is sustainable because technology is continually expanding and the students coming into the schools are more and more familiar with this technology. Also as more technology is being produced the older technology is getting more affordable. With the amount of grants and older generations of technology, adding iPads to the classroom a feasible options for many schools. After more research about the effect of iPads on learning is done, I think more administers will look into getting iPads for their students.

One of the biggest reasons schools have failed at integrating technology into their classes is because they didn’t take the time to properly train their teacher and students on the use of the iPads. By releasing the iPads to quickly, the students were not properly restricted and the teachers weren’t sure how to incorporate them in to the lessons so they were ineffectively used. Not only were they used incorrectly, but they students were monitored so it’s difficult to keep them on track.

Proper training can make the difference between a successful and a failed launch of the iPads. Teaching the teachers how to use them effectively is the foundation of a successful launch. If the students have an assignment and want to complete it, then that’s what they’ll be doing. But if the iPads are just sitting in front of them without much of a use, then the students will use them to surf the web and the students won’t be on task. Also training the teachers and administrators about monitoring the students’ access on the iPads will help the students learn that the teachers are paying attention to what they’re doing and they will start to self-monitor their iPad use. Training the students on how and when to use the iPad will also make it go smoother because the teacher won’t have to consistently remind them.

Overall, I think the use of iPads can be very useful and effective in classrooms. It engages the students and give them opportunities they might not have been able to have without these devices.

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