Friday, June 25, 2010

iPad is the new tool in the toolbox--maybe

Like so many other educators around the world, this summer I am exploring the iPad.  Sure, it is cool looking, it is lightweight, the screen is lovely, etc.  But, how do I incorporate it into teaching kids?  Or, as Charlie Johnson, Sunset High librarian and I used to say to each other, "is it 'mo' better?'"  I agree with David Warlick (2¢(I love doing that on a Mac!) Worth) that it irks me that I have to buy Apps from the iTunes store in order to try them out.  I don't mind paying for software if it meets my needs, but I don't feel I should have to support developers who are creating products I won't use once I have seen how poorly created they are.  Richard Kassissieh writes that iTunes App developers earn an average of $682/year.  I admit that is not exactly living wage territory, but I digress.  This is about the iPad.

I have observed my wife using the iPad for around 2 months.  She uses it for writing, playing Scrabble™, checking e-mail, reading books, magazines, and creating her own electronic cookbook.  I have no idea what we are going to do with all the extra space in the kitchen once we no longer need to consult cookbooks!  In short, she uses it all the time.  I would probably use it similarly, but I am trying to figure out how to use it in my teaching.

My classroom already has desktops, notebooks, netbooks, iPods, cameras, camcorders, etc.  Students have free access to all of these tools in their daily work.  What would the iPad add?  I can see individual students bringing iPads to class to take notes, organize work, etc.  To that end, I need to know how to help them with their own tools.  But, a class set?

I think right now I see the iPad as an individual tool that I and others may choose to use.  I am still exploring how to use this exciting new (lightweight) tool to further individual learning.  I know I am not alone on this path.  The exploration is fun!

2 comments:

  1. I certainly look forward to reading what you'll be learning about using the iPad in the classroom. But frankly, I'm more interested in the pedagogical significance of something else you write: "My classroom already has desktops, notebooks, netbooks, iPods, cameras, camcorders, etc. Students have free access to all of these tools in their daily work."

    Not too long ago having computers in the classroom meant that every pupil sat in front of the same type of machine. But today that isn't the case. Instead, each pupil comes to class with his/her own highly-connected device in his/her pocket. It seems to me that this presents a considerably more interesting challenge to classroom learning than the inclusion of one additional tool like the iPad.

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