The iclass (as apposed to the C class)

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Ipads in every class?!  Ipad for each student!!! YES !?!?

impage source

image source

This is a topic that most people in our Computer Apps class at ULAVAL have likely written about for this project, but rightly so.  It is a major topic in education right now.  School are hollowing out music and gym budgets to create mobile iPad labs or provide one for each student.  Yikes, did you know that the price of one ipad is equivalent to some schools’ entire Physical Education budget for the year?

Why iPad?
I work at a school which recently sent 6 staff to Texas for a week to observe a school that is completely iPad equipped.  Apart from that being a pricey trip in itself, they are also planning on equipping 2 complete classes with iPads next year, in addition to their existing roaming kits of 16 iPads.  This is a major investment.  But after the Texas team came back, it was a no-brainer for them.  They saw the benefits at work and the school as well as the parents are in the process of fundraising for the project.  And they are not even considering tablet, it is only iPad.

Adam Webster, assistant director of learning at a secondary school in England  posted the 5 reasons ipad will stay king of the classroom on his post at  edudemic .com.  It it he refers the SMAR model to prove his 5 points:

  • It’s not a laptop
  • Creative Flow
  • Apple Eco System
  • Focus on Education
  • Aspirational

His article is really worth a read.  He talks about why iPad cannot be matched in the classroom.  He even boldly states that that of all the educational applications out there “I would say that 60-70% is specifically to do with iPads or other Apple technologies.”

But what are they doing with them?
The ideas for Ipads are endless.  The blog Ideas for Teachers features many, one of which is the iMovie Trailer app.   The author noted that  integrating the iPads “engage and inspire even the most reluctant of workers.”  And isn’t that the whole point?

I have seen this in action myself with a group of grade 6 students.  After one afternoon of playing with iMovie Tailer, they were given the assignment of creating a trailer for a book that they had read.  In 1 hour, 3 out of 5 groups had a full trailer to show the class (one group  “lost” theirs but they said it was done too).  The program guides you on the kind of shots  you need for each frame (close-up, group, action etc).  Apart from 2 boys who were astray, the rest of the class worked diligently on the project and were begging for more time.   The biggest bonus I saw was the pride in the completed project.  Several kids stayed at the end of the day to admire their own work.

I found a wiki\blog by a school in the United Sates that began a 1:1 pilot iPad project (one for each student).  They reported on how their teachers were using the iPad in the classroom.  I found it interesting that the principal commented that  “many of the critics claim that we are backing our students into a corner by giving them one brand and one skill set to learn exclusively on one device.”  He feels that the educational engagement benefits far outweigh this concern.

Here are some ideas of activities that I found interesting:

What do the kids think..
Well obviously if you ask a student, what ever their age, if they would like to learn on an iPad, I am fairly sure 99% of them are going to say YES!  This website has student comments regarding the new program that includes iPads in the classroom.  Most comments include the word FUN.  They find everything more fun if it is screen-based! They have the impression that they are playing, not learning.

What is missing still?
Again I site Adam Webster, but this time from his new blog (when does this guy have time to work?).  Although he pumps iPads in the classrooms, he thinks that educational support apps are still lacking.  One missing tools in particular he would like to see is a “heads up app” which would allow teachers to control the live screens to shut them down and pull students attention to something else other than the screen.

The logistics

This school has a website that tracks the introduction of  a 1:1 iPad program in their school.  Each teacher essentially blogs about the  project and how it looks in their classroom from teaching the kids the procedures and rules to elaborating on projects.  The big takeaway from this website as well as this guide to iPad 1:1 integration is that there is needs to be a well planned and thought out structure for putting iPads into classroom.  It is not a toy that you let the kids figure out, iPads foster an embedded curriculum that includes responsibility  digital citizenship and technical skills.   Unless the integration is not well thought-out, these aspects could be missed and the benefits of the program will be reduced.

And in the end… maybe if we give each child an iPad to learn and create with instead of a notebook, maybe we will get more presentations like this one – it is worth watching!



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