Saturday, May 22, 2010

Classroom iPad thoughts

My wife has an iPad.  She loves it.  She reads the New York Times in the morning, has a spiffy Starbuck's app that allows her to purchase coffee at participating Starbucks (they have to have the correct scanning tool,) listens to podcasts, and reads in bed in the evening.  My school IT department has an iPad.  I was asked what I would do with it in class.  I thought it might aid students in learning about Geography during the first unit of the year.  So, I tried to replicate what we had done this past fall.  I used Safari to research volcanic activity in Iceland (there was no shortage of information!)  Then I found a picture I wanted.  I copied (trying to think intuitively here) it.  Next I opened Keynote and began a new presentation.  But, I could not paste the image.  Didn't matter what trick I tried or how many fingers I placed on the iPad or how long I held them there.  No pasting.  Somewhat frustrated, my family decided it was time to walk to frozen yogurt.  On the way, we passed a Mac Store.  Stopping in, I explained my problem.  The helpful salesperson suggested that maybe I should save the photo, then insert it from the photo library.  This worked!  But, the entire experience was so cumbersome, it would require too much work on the part of students preparing presentations.  Then I remembered what bloggers around the world have been saying, "iPad is for consuming content, not creating it."

While mulling over that thought, my wife came in to share some new apps she had found for her iPad.  One was an interactive Alice in Wonderland App.  Objects in the story moved!  This reminded me of all that spiffy new CD-ROM technology of the late 1980's.  I half expected her to show me a Hypercard app!  Now, that would be cool!  What's next?  IPad laser discs?  So, I am back at the electronic canvas again.  How can I integrate iPads to increase student learning?  What content do I want students to consume that an iPad is best suited for?   C'mon web those comments here.  If you don't have an iPad, but have an idea, post it.  I'll test it for you and blog the results.


  1. Somehow I'm not surprised that your conclusion seems to be that the critics were right - the iPad is for consuming content.

    I haven't yet had the opportunity to put my hands on an iPad - even if I don't feel too great an urge to do so, I certainly wouldn't mind playing around with one a bit. I don't, however, think you're fair when you refer to Hypercard along with CD-ROM and Laser discs. Hypercard wasn't only a great application for its time - it's can still do lots more than a great many popular applications in use today.

  2. How does the virtual coffee taste?

  3. Dragon Dictation is pretty great for oral writing, though it would run equally well on an iPad Touch.