IPAD FEVER

Are IPADs going to “stick” as tools in education?  That is the question many schools and colleges are considering as they look at what new technologies to embrace in their classrooms.  The Hill school, a private boarding school in Pennsylvania where I work is one of many schools considering a 1-1 IPAD program to replace the successful existing 1-1 laptop program.  Why are IPADS generating such strong interest in the education world? Are they really worth investing in or are they a “flash in the pan”?

The McAllen, Texas school district has faced this question and made the decision to go IPAD in a big way, district-wide. The goal there is for every child within the district to have an IPAD or IPOD touch.  The district began testing the device with a core group of teachers who piloted the use of the device in their classrooms. One reason that teachers in the McAllen District are behind this mass adoption is textbooks.  Like most schools, McAllen has outdated textbooks. Using the IPAD teachers can put together a textbook that is not only up to date, but also tailor made to the curriculum.  This entails the teacher putting in a great deal of work to gather materials,  so it is clearly not the panacea medicine for text book issues.  However,  Apple is addressing the textbook issue.  They are releasing engaging digital textbooks that are generating much excitement. These textbooks are going to be taking over schools very soon, and the price tag will be much lower than the pricey hard covers go for now.

The research on the use of IPAD in education is scant due to the fact that it is blazing new technology by school standards. However, a recent study with Kindergartners demonstrated that using IPADs raised literacy scores accross the board.

The only con I’ve encountered so far is the fact that the original IPADs did not do well with projectors. They only played well with a few tecnologies such as You Tube.  However Apple has addressed this problem and newer IPADs iterations elimate projection complications and limitations completely.

It is increasingly clear that IPADs  are not leaving the spotlight any time too soon. The early adopters are reporting back positively so far and more are jumping on the bandwagon as I write this post. IPADs offer a revolutionary approach to delivering engaging and tailor made instruction that is light years ahead of the now creaky and aging laptop technology. Factor in the newest textbook publishing, and you have a clear winner.

Sources
Is McAllen ISD Most Forward Thinking District in America? – Jason Cohen
Touching Down: McAllen ISD hands out iPads – Elizabeth Findell
Kindergarten IPAD Program Sees Positive Results – Mike Muir

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About cclowes

I have a Bachelor's in Education and a Master's in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. I spent two years as a librarian at Weber High School in Chicago and 12 years as a media specialist in Woodstock, IL. Presently I work in Pottstown, PA as an Technology Integration Specialist for a private high school.
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