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Is the iPad Ready for the Classroom Not Quite Yet


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Is the iPad Ready for the Classroom Not Quite Yet

  1. 1. ==== ====For Latest iPad Information Click Here Now! ====I am a lover of all things Apple. I have an iMac desktop computer, a MacBook Air, and pretty muchevery type of iPod Apple has ever made. My new iPad 2 is my pride and joy. Apple does maketerrific products. However, just because something is cool and attractive to kids, it does not meanthat schools that use iPads will have higher student scores on state tests. I am concerned when Iread that several schools and school districts are jumping on the "iPad will revolutionizeeducation" bandwagon. Schools are getting grants and using district funds to purchase iPad setsfor one or more classrooms. However,there are several questions that need to be answeredbefore spending money on this technology. Is the iPad ready for the classroom? Not quite yet.Here are a list of questions that need to be considered before the purchase of iPad sets is a validexpenditure of funds. The comments in italics are my views on each question.1. Is there a body of valid research (other than anecdotal) indicating that the use of iPadssignificantly improves student achievement? The iPad has not been in use long enough for us tohave this data.2. Is there an existing instructional need which can only be met by an iPad rather than an existingschool computer? For example, the graphing calculator filled an existing need in the mathclassroom. It allowed students and teachers to manipulate numbers and graphs in a way that wasnot possible before. This was a valid expenditure of funds to purchase technology. The needexisted before the purchase was made.3. Are course and curriculum programs available now for the iPad? Developers are in the processof working on educational programs but the current focus is primarily on the college market. This isalso true for textbooks. Yes, it would be nice if students could have their textbooks downloaded tothe iPad but that is no more than a vision at this point.4. Are existing educationally-researched lesson plans available now that use the iPad as anintegral part of the lesson? I remember when my school first received 5 computers in eachclassroom. We were required to create lesson plans that included technology. I can see the samething happening with the iPad sets. "Now that I have these, what am I supposed to do with them?"5. If teachers are expected to create lessons for the iPad on their own time, will they be givencompensation to do this? If not, the iPad becomes an additional burden for teachers, rather than auseful tool.6. Is there an existing body of academic apps, other than games, currently available for purchase?Again, this will change dramatically within the next year or so, but at the moment pickings are slim.
  2. 2. 7. Is teacher training on the iPad budgeted into the cost of iPad sets? If it isnt, the iPads will notbe used effectively, because teachers may lack the necessary skills and the necessary time tolearn those skills.Most of these issues will resolve themselves in the next two years. Why not wait to purchaseiPads until then? They arent going to disappear! Having been in education for over 30 years, Iveseen many cases of schools buying technology too early. See my article "Evolution of Technologyin the Classroom" for more details.Is the iPad ready for the classroom? Not quite yet. In two years it will be a different story, as manyof the above questions will have been answered. In the meanwhile, a much better use of tightbudget money is to invest in quality teacher training. The impact of that investment will last muchlonger than the short lifespan of an iPad. Research consistently supports that the teacher is themost important influence on student learning in the classroom.Unfortunately, I have watched professional development programs being gutted in manyschools/districts which then spend a great deal of money on technology. The teachers areexpected to learn how to use the technology by staying late after school. They are also required tocreate lesson plans that artificially use this technology. It would be funny if it werent so sad.Trained teachers make the difference in student lives, not gadgets.Barbara is a professional speaker, seminar/workshop presenter, staff development trainer with 32years of classroom experience.Her book, A Teachers Book of 10s: Best ways to Do Everything in Your Classroom, will bepublished in the summer of 2011.Contact Barbara at http://www.barbaratoney.comArticle Source: ====For Latest iPad Information Click Here Now!
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