Okay before I really get into this post, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have been bitten by the magic. Steve Jobs you may quite possibly be my hero and to think I have fought you for so long. Shame on me. I am so caught in your tangled web of wonder that I will be the first to admit – my 2 and 5 year old have iPads. Yes I said it, my children, 2 and 5 carry with them (wherever they go) $500 dollar “toys” and quite frankly, while some of you make think I am crazy, and I encourage you to tell me as such, I also ask that you be prepared to have a conversation with me again in 5 years – we will see who is crazy then. As for the rest of you that I have not lost – the greatest educational tool right now is very much so the iPad in my opinion.
So why iPads versus computers or other means of technology like Smartboards, etc. Well quite frankly the versitality of an iPad intergrates computers, and smartboards in such a way that it almost makes them unecessary. This is not to say that I beleive at this point students do not benefit from using a computer but lets face it what does the ipad do that a computer can not. I will admit that word processing on the iPad is still in early stages, but the technology is rapidly advancing with the wireless keyboards and the ability to print to wireless printers.
In terms of what I have watched my own children do in the short time they have them is almost incomprehensible. My 2 year old is almost to the point of being able to trace every letter of the alphabet much like children do when they begin a program like Writing without Tears and she has the ability to do it in such a way that it is fun and exciting. She collects stickers, it sings her songs, and corrects her immediately if she traces the letter incorrectly.
With my five year old she is reading off the ipad. She is completing basic math problems, and she has the ability to click through apps created by such places like the Museum of Natural History which provide her with an endless stream of dinosaur pictures, all accessible at her fingertips without having to type into the internet and click through unscreened pictures.
For the older students like the ones in my school, the iPads have so quickly become intergrated into their leanring that the students are creating presentations, doing research, and working through math programs that target their current learning concepts.
In one such class the students were able to work in groups in stations to listen to music of the Harlem Renassiance, check out pictures, watch powerpoint presentations, and use the internet to research assigned topics. The speed in which they were able to do this far out performed any computer and provided them with the extreme flexibility to be able to differentiate for their different needs.
This will not be the first and last post I have on the topic as I do believe this is the wave of the future in education. But I will say this. As a fourth grader, I remember the librarian telling my mother that she was killing me and my sister through radiation because we had a computer in her house. My mother was quite clear with the woman that she was wrong and that her children would be far more prepared for the real world because of the computer – she was so right. I do believe, that we are not far off from all students have access to iPads in the classroom because they are not that expensive and they are just that versatile. Why buy textbooks when you can buy it on the iPad where the multimedia aspect is integrated as they read?
Want your students engaged, I mean truly engaged in the learning process? iPads is the answer. I am not saying replace the paper and pencil and marker, I am saying incorporate it into the learning with the iPad – trust me – I have seen it done and haven’t seen anything but unbelievable results. Its magical!!!!