Shift Happens: Are Schools Using iPads Correctly?

Lately the biggest trend in schools is creating one to one iPad to student ratios. Schools are pouring money into new mobile devices for their students, and I believe they are doing it to fast, and most are not doing it the right way. iPad stock image

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Let me start of with this, I think using iPad’s or other tablets or mobile devices can be great for many schools and students. With this information students can learn very much using new applications and new technologies never thought of. In addition, these tablets can do wonders for students who are in special education as well as exceeding students.

My problem with iPads or tablets is that I believe many schools jumped at the idea of tablets way to fast, and did not train their teachers and staff how to properly use them and teach using this technology. Because of this, many students are using iPads for things that could have been done cheaper, with a computer, or pen and paper. The whole point of using iPads in schools for students is to help students do activities, lessons, and learn things they never could have without the technology, not do the same thing on a shiny new toy.

There are many different tablets on the market, but the main tablet seen in schools is the Apple iPad (seen above). I believe that the Apple iPad is a very good device, and is also adding more and more educational components over time. The only downfall to Apple is that independent developers cannot create apps for apple devices. That means that you have to be a apple app creator to make one, unlike android tablets that allow independent app makers on their tablets.

One example of schools that did not use iPads effectively were some schools in Los Angeles gave their students iPads almost immediately without giving many rules, allowing students to bring them home. Within weeks 71 students had lost their iPads, while hundreds of other students were able to hack the security settings on the tablets. The schools are looking to Apple to create better software to not allow students to hack so easily.

Link to the News Article

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However, there are schools that are doing a very good job in integrating iPads in there schools such as Mooresville District schools in Indiana required families to pay a $50 dollar tech fee, making sure students are partially liable for the protection of the device, as well as having parents and students sign contracts on how they will be using the iPads at school. In addition, other schools used third party apps to secure the iPads as well as monitor what their students are looking at, such as Jasper Suite JAMF. Another proactive method used by successful schools was taking the time to educate their teachers on how to use tablets, hiring tech coaches and directors in schools to continually teach teachers, and have school wide lessons on how to use the devices correctly. The iPad is an amazing tool, and when used by a great teacher that is fluent in how to use it, the device to do great things in the classroom. Information from MacWorld

Overall, I think that iPads are a great thing for schools, but they are only used well when schools have decided whether they can afford them, whether they can afford to teach their teachers how to use them, and if they have a plan on how to use these devices in classrooms that really need them.

If you would like to learn more about using iPads in the classroom effectively visit these websites below

teachingwithipad.org

How iPads can benefit kids if used effectively

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