Ipad : what about it?

With today’s new tactile technology, devices such as the ipad are being offered to consumers all over the world. Some may think that these tablets are expensive and not much better than regular computer, but many schools have adopted this tool in their teaching. I intend to write about certain facts and opinions on the matter of using electronic tablets, and, in a more particular way, the ipad.

There are many ways ipads can be used in classroom. David Savenije on edudemic, proposes 14 ways to use it. As much as these ideas are great, they cover two major themes: interactivity with knowledge and practicality. Ipads in education, a website dedicated to the use of ipads even offers  applications packages for teachers and students. This website also presents ways of using the ipad that links with the two major themes presented earlier. What about statistics? On emergingedtech, researchers have found that ipads are well used and that they increase motivation and academic accomplishments and that over 60% of people in schools think we should use it. Great!

There are many ways of using this tool but apart from its usage, let’s have a look at why we should use ipads in classrooms :

To help us on the matter, and especially to help teachers, ETML presented 12 questions one should ask himself before using this tool. However, here are some advantages I found :

1. It gives access to multimedia. As Amber’s educational blog says it, having a webcam, access to internet and a video camera in a tool no bigger than a book is a great asset. Your students can have exchanges with other students more easily and there is no need to move to a computer lab each time you want your students to use multimedia.

2. Alike the IWB, the ipad is visually attractive and, as Steven David Pearce writes it, it can fit many types of learners and intelligences. It also takes creativity into account since many applications help students use their creativity.

3. Ipads are really resistant and easy to use, just like all apple products. I know from experience that apple products may be more expensive but they are dummy proof and last a long time.

Now let me give you the main drawback of what I feel is a wonderful tool : it is somewhat expensive. I can’t see how, unless funded by the government, everyone could get an Ipad that costs somewhere around 500$.  Erik Duval and many others agree on that point, making the cost probably the major flaw of this tool. Parents would have to pay for it and not everyone can afford it. It is a bit like social programs where the idea is great but when we see the price, we realise that we can’t afford it as a society. On the other hand, by using the ipad, we save money: money on paper, pencils, pens …. which may be something positive on the long run? Furthermore, as Mike Silagadze acknowledges it, ipad can lead to a lot of distraction in classrooms if not used properly.

From my point of view, I think it is a great tool, I would most likely integrate it in my teaching and here is why. Previously, I have written about the IWB and how it should be used as a great tool for both students and teachers. When we think about it, ipads has the potential to be the same intuitive/creative/practical tool the IWB is. It can be so for a lesser price, and for all students. Imagine if we could easily transfer data from the ipad to the IWB. We would therefore have a really efficient tool where teachers and students can communicate and share information easily. Furthermore, having interactivity in teaching is great since not all students are good at classical classroom memorization and practice. Some students learn a lot better when confronted with a practical problem. These are the main reasons why I strongly support the use of ipads in class.

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