Why iPad?

Opportunity

If you want to enhance learning for students then use an iPad. There, I’ve said it. Colours to the mast and no doubt scrutiny abounds. Whenever I find an issue there is a solution. Whenever a question is posed, there is an answer – for students and staff.

It’s a tool – another weapon in an educators arsenal. The iPad is not the answer, the be all and end all, the cure to educational woe. It will enhance learning when used appropriately, at the right time and for the right reason. The point is, the iPad provides opportunity that hasn’t existed in mainstream education.

A student can use it in a lesson for learning. Instant-on means research can be completed quickly and efficiently to maintain lesson pace. Creation is easier with a multitude of applications designed to engage the user. Personalised lessons are available to all with a device that encourages individuality. In short an educators ‘job’ is made easier by an iPad.

This does not mean that the iPad should be blanket purchased for all. The educator is still the most important factor. There is a pedagogy in development and the hours required to understand the iPad’s use are a barrier for some. However, it is worth it.

When faced with iPad scepticism I often refer to how I would like to learn something new. Sure I want to be told and if it is facts I require please enlighten me. However, this would be a struggle for five hours a day. So please vary your delivery, engage my mind and make me curious. Of course, educators have been utilising many different tools to do this and have been very successful. The iPad is just another technology but (and here’s the thing) it’s a really powerful one.

I could refer to my new found productivity, the increase in test scores and the amazing way the iPad has changed the manner with which I offer learning opportunities to my students. Instead I believe an educator will only know if an iPad has a use in their classroom if they discover it for themselves. In our school educators will be offered all the training required to get to grips with the device. However, it is ‘ownership’ that is necessary for  the iPad to be adopted into the learning process. There is a time and place for the iPad and it should compliment the best practice already prevalent in education.

Why iPad?

For Learning

About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK (stephenperse.com). Interested in global connectivity for all and risk taking in education. Keen to discuss all aspects of learning and digital strategy. Also @syded06 on twitter.

32 Responses to Why iPad?

  1. Andrew Gaunt says:

    I was skeptical at first, I had ipod touches first and instantly saw their benefit but initially the cost of the ipad put me off compared to an ipod. After 6 months of playing with the ipad I changed my mind. i totally agree with you they are another weapon in the educators arsenal to engage and stimulate learning, not the be all and end all of teaching. What I find particularly good at KS1 is the way the children can immediately access phonic apps for example – rather than logging on to a network, opening Internet Explorer, finding the phonic website and then accessing their work. At KS2 I use Conundra maths alot for mental maths challenges, me v the children. I am so convinced of their place in school Ive bought another 16.

    • syded says:

      Thank you Andrew. I firmly believe this sort of introduction to the iPad is the only way to understand its use. Good luck with your next batch!

  2. littleangelsspecialschoolict says:

    Great post. I totally agree with you. I have just started to use an iPad with my class and they love it. They also use Graceapp on old iPhones as a communication device. I feel that these technologies are really intuitive for our pupils and that they are must-haves in a modern classroom.

  3. Jacky says:

    Absolutely! When our staff initially got iPads they would ask me what I used it for (I had it a few months before them). I used to show them in detail. Then I realised that like most teaching tools, you have to work out how you would use in in your own classroom in your own style of teaching. So now when asked, I give a far more general overview. Now they are discovering for themselves. I also used to tell them what I don’t use it for. Don’t be an iPad slave if there is a better way to do something, unless a better way comes along on the iPad, of course. I am now chomping at the bit, waiting for 1:1 to happen so I can implement even more iPadding.

  4. matt sutton says:

    Reblogged this on Digital: Divide and Conquer and commented:
    Well said. what I think best sums up the use of iPads in the classroom is that we/you really don’t know how it will affect/effect learning until it is in our hands and we realize what it’s capable of doing.

  5. mrsrubens says:

    The most invigorating tool I have encountered in my 22 years of teaching is the BYOD iPad. I have always loved my job but the introduction of BYOD has taken teaching to a new level. Engagement is up, differentiated class is now a reality, flipping your class is so exciting!

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  24. Nikki Heyman says:

    Thank you for this Daniel! I sent in a motivation to get iPads for the Grade R children and the comment I got back was “I still have no educational clarity on what you are hoping to achieve. There is no real value on teaching children how to use an iPad.” Hopefully I can use your post to show them or perhaps it is just a lost cause.

  25. John Finch says:

    Do you mean tablet when you say iPad? Other tablets, equally rich in apps and access can be had for half the price. In bad budget times, they are a far more responsible choice

  26. Steve Howell says:

    I don’t think we should get too hung up on whether iPads or other tablet computers are best. The increasing sophistication of cross-platform development tools mean that it is possible to write “platform agnostic” apps which can be tailored quickly and easily to several different devices. At I hope that’s true! I’m currently using some of these development tools to design 3D real-time science education apps for schools.

    I’ve given them the platform agnostic name of “Tablet Science” for now (Google it to have a look.) But may have to change the name as, interestingly, I think people don’t really “get” the Tablet part and think it’s something medicinal. I may have to start using the word iPad and accept that it is used as the genetic name for tablet computers, just as “Hoover” is the generic name for vacuum cleaners.

    • I would take a look at iBooks Author and iTunes U to see why the iPad is the right choice at the moment. Going forward I am fairly sure we will all be cloud based with many different devices.

  27. iPad4Schools says:

    My school has open BYOD and it’s only the iPads that have no problems. The laptop uses rely on the ipadders to do the filming work and the android tablet users rely on the ipadders for education apps like the various recordable whiteboard apps. BYOD makes it harder for the non-techie teacher and harder for the kids to work together. Schools should choose one device only and essentially it needs to be the iPad. Thanks for your post!

  28. Hi,

    I like the positive tone of your post. I’m working in a 1:1 ipad school and am about to conduct Masters research on this. I was wondering if you could be more specific about the following things:

    1) What grades do you teach? Do you teach a certain subject?
    2) Increase in which test scores exactly? Maths, writing, reading??? How do you think the use of the ipad has managed this increase in test scores? How much higher are the test scores?
    3) Could you be more specific about how the ipad has changed the manner in which you offer learning opportunities?

    Sorry for being picky, I just really want to understand outstanding use of this device.

    Thanks,

    Dan Pearcy

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