iPads in the Classroom

iPads in the Classroom
This weekend I read an article What Students Think About Using iPads in School from NPR’s facebook page. The article – linked above- is a short one loosely covering student feedback at the prospect for using iPads in the classroom. Most of the students were excited, and seemed tech savvy enough to see the benefits of easier homework and teacher feedback access. A few were weary of the expensive devices , having to repair them if they break it. One noted that there will be fewer school field trips that next year, indicating that this was due to a budget cut because of the iPads. I myself am still on the fence with spending money to put an ipad in every studetns hands. One of the issues that keep coming up for me is that this is another way to identify the “ haves” and “have nots” of the school districts. Schools with the right budget can afford this, lower income schools cannot. The question that comes to mind as well is what happens to everything else after we have spent money on individual iPads, teacher and staff instructional workshops, student workshops, tech support etc? Will these schools field trips become spares throughout the year? What about school clubs and academic support? I am 50/50 on the iPad phenomena. There is no escaping its glitz and glamour, and yet some aspects of it are enriching for student learning. But at what ( literally) cost? When our public school systems have so much to work on , student attendance, dropout rates, free/reduced lunches, the new CCSS and so much more, I feel that the ipad needs need to take a back step. When we have improved much more pressing matters of our public school system then I can feel ok with spending money on devices when in the words of one student, “ pen and paper would work just as well..”.

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4 thoughts on “iPads in the Classroom

  1. I agree 100% that if Ipads are only used for things that could be done with paper and pencil, there’s no point, and that seems to be where some of the teachers understand they still are in this school: Enhancing but not yet transforming (I’m thinking of the SRAM model we’ve read about and Jeff Utecht talked about using similar language). And alas, 8th grade kids understand a lot, but maybe not school budgeting; they may not appreciate that field trip budgets were cut long before Ipads were in schools (or field trips have been cut back just as art and music have been, to focus on things that will be tested).

    I so appreciate you thinking of the equity issues. That’s a huge commitment of mine. What challenges me is thinking about how many resources the “haves” have at home. The “have” kids have computers and tablets and smart phones from a pretty early age. A lot of us wonder whether school can be a place to level playing fields, just as so many teachers make sure that kids without a lot of books at home are surrounded with wonderful books at school.

    You are so right. We face so many challenges. Do we know that more kids will stay in school, or come to school more regularly if we keep doing what we have been doing with them for all these years? Or do we take the risk of trying something new?

    It’s excellent to keep thinking about all of this. Thanks for posting the link. It seems that they’re being really good about tracking the challenges and successes of this project in this school, and that’s exactly the information that is going to be so helpful in sorting out these things.

    • Thanks for responding :) It is a lot to tackle as a new educator, and as a product of the” old ” public school system sometimes i feel overwhelmed grappling with all these new ideas i want to be implementing into the classroom! as you may have noticed, i have completely fallen in love with my personal iPad, and yes I want my students to be exposed to new technology and feel the excitement ( and learning) that i have been experiencing with it. The amazing learning experience I had at my dyad placement as left me hyperaware of the just what an impact the basic of teaching tools can have on a student to enrich their learning. possibly too aware because i find my self struggling with ( dare I say ) Have/Have Not syndrome. I know that there is a beautiful bridge that can enrich student learning, level the playing field and that enrichment stay with them for a lifetime. will that bridge be made of iPads, MacBooks, Paper or something entirely new ? I am not sure yet,i worry that my overthinking of the care i want take for my students might lead to a missed opportunity of exposing them to new technology or skill that could enhance the learning and teaching. I am smiling as i think of the passionate insights many of my 8th graders shared with me , and yes I agree school budgeting might not be the most informative information to get from them , but there is something to be said of the possibility of creating a harmonious blend of student voice, teacher technology and a new face of public education.
      This blogging forum is a great example of that, being able to share out ideas and thoughts between Professor, student teacher and bloggies everywhere. I hope i can find/create a same space for my students like you have for us- i suppose the only thing to do is to keep blogging and reflecting and re-thinking!

  2. I love what you say here about the blend of voices being so essential for these conversations, and yes — how cool it is to have forums like this where that can happen.

    I so so appreciate that the have/ have nots questions are so central to you. We share that focus and it is so complicated.

    And I so appreciate you telling us all about this school where they’re not just tossing iPads into the classroom, expecting that some learning miracle will happen, but are instead asking really great questions about how they might change teaching and learning over time.

    I’d love to ask these kids what they want to do with the iPads to support their learning. I bet they’d have great ideas.

    (the comments on this piece are so interesting, from someone arguing that in these times of so much social and scientific change, textbooks can last for 10 years, to people who seem to assume that tech solves all school problems).

    Looking forward to more conversations about all of this.

  3. I posted something similar about e-readers. Although I love the ideas of iPads bringing in new innovative ideas into the classroom they are an expensive piece of machinery. The cost is even greater when they break. Like everything else in technology they are outdated in a couple of years. Then it’s on to the next big idea in technology. I love the idea of a tablet for every kids, but lets be real as you said equity plays a big role. Some schools can afford that and others can not. So let’s think about what we can do with one, or two iPad? That might be a better conversation than taking on the idea of placing one in every kids hands.

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