In 2010, Steve Jobs announced the release of the iPad. Since this date, iPads have flooded into the workplace, the home, and the classroom. But, do these touch screens bring with them education qualities or are they just flashy gadgets? Open Colleges states that 81% of U.S teachers think that tablets can enrich the educational experience and that students believe so too. So, if iPads have a benefit in the classroom, we need to start looking for ways on how to introduce them into the classroom and make sure that they work. This means setting rules, using the best Edtech and making sure that the iPad is used to its full potential.
With free apps, online games and a world of content; iPads can offer too much of a good thing for learners. As an educator, this can be combatted by creating lessons plans that do not allow a moment for distracting or by downloading an app like ClearLock. This app allows teachers and parents to lock certain apps for a period. This ensures that all learners are only able to access the same apps at the same time and that they distractions are limited.
If every child is afforded the chance to have an iPad in the classroom, it can be used as great tool to gain live feedback. Shy and students with problems may feel more inclined to reach out in the privacy of their iPad accounts. This not only allows educators the space to tailor their feedback but provides insight into classroom statistics. Students no longer have to wait days for homework corrections, which in turn allows students and teachers to the chance to address problems as they arise.
Take a virtual field trip
Field trips are expensive and drown teachers in admin. With apps such as Google Maps, students can explore exotic parts of the world. Lesson plans can be centered around a particular location or let the students explore. The White House, zoos and art galleries offer virtual tours and 360-degree camera options. These apps are usually accompanied by worksheets and quizzes, allowing the classroom to morph into the Louvre.
Connecting outside of the classroom
Half of the nation’s school districts use some sort of e-readers, and yet they are barely used outside of the classroom. While not all students are authorized to take their iPads home, those that can be engaging with the content outside of the classroom. Homework not only allows students more time with the class content but encourages them to connect with other students, videos that provide different explanations and abilities to upload assignments. This virtual connection is necessary if technology is to be successfully used.
Use the multimedia opportunities
iPads bring with them opportunities away from the traditional textbooks. The use of videos, audio, and Edtech products are opening doors for kinetic and visual learners. Educators need to offer students real opportunities to engage with the technology in their hands. iPads have built-in cameras, speakers, and other features, and if they are not being used, there is no point to including them in the experience. Specific edtech products allow educators to focus the features of the iPad that will be utilized in lessons. EdSurge is a great place to find a list of Edtech products that are compatible with iPads.
Displaying Digital Creations
The classroom, as a physical space is important for social interaction. iPads can be very solitary and as colorful as the online world may be, classrooms need to be just as decorated. The displaying of art, achievements, and inspiration is particularly important in younger grades as it creates a space that is conducive to learning and pride. Apps such as Printopiaallow students to connect to printers at home or school. This app is equally useful for teachers who want to print out posters or charts.
Technology brings with it exciting uses, but without preparation and realistic expectations, it also can fail in the most organized classroom. Educators need to have a reason to use an iPad and in turn, understand the new problems and procedures that come with it. Using an iPad may be a great education tool, but it needs to be milked for all it is worth if it is to make a difference in the classroom.