iPad in Education- No longer a debate!


There is no longer a debate!

If money was no object would a teacher want their students to have an iPad each?


Even if they only used it to research a different perspective. Even if they only used it to add resources to their work. Even if they only used it as an alternative way to demonstrate learning.

The research exists to support the device as a tool for learning. All over the world schools and districts are deploying iPads to enhance learning. The reason this is happening:


Any mobile device can assist in the learning process, it just happens that the iPad is the current class leader. It provides opportunity inside the classroom and encourages the learning transition from home to school. Students are engaged with the device and are eager to demonstrate learning and discover new applications. Educators are excited by the opportunity to develop their methods and discover new ways of stimulating their learners.

So why do we continue to debate?

Money – It isn’t the educators job to worry about the finances. If a school can afford one device, it will help in the classroom. If a school can afford a 1:1 programme, it will help in the classroom. It is up to the administrators to find the means to finance any new technology. If the money isn’t available then the new technology can’t be implemented – that is not a reason for educators to debate if a mobile device will enhance learning.

Behaviour Management – ‘If students are using technology inappropriately in the classroom, you have a behaviour problem, not a technology problem.’ This is an opinion that has been voiced on social media platforms on numerous occasions. Students will use technology inappropriately in the classroom. This shouldn’t be a reason to avoid a mobile device. The new technology does require modelling ‘good practice’ in the classroom but isn’t that true of any learning method?

Learning – If the device isn’t suitable for a task then educators shouldn’t use it. There is no such thing as an iPad lesson. If it will enhance learning then it could be used. If it is not suitable for a part of the lesson, it stays in the student’s bag. There are many options available to educators to nurture learning – the iPad provides a few more.

The iPad in Education debate should centre around appropriate use. The device is so new to some educators that it is only natural to present barriers rather than embrace the possibilities. However, once past this position, conversation is about stimulating learners with the iPad playing a role. The device can make the process a little easier once educators understand its applications and workflow opportunities.

If it was our job as educators to deal with financial implications or logistical issues then we would be right to debate the use of the iPad in lessons. However, it is our role to educate and the administrators job to provide us with the tools. The iPad has a use in the classroom and if possible should be made available to students. I would go so far as to say that any trial conducted in schools is now about the logistical rather than the learning implications. Schools need to change financial plans and wireless infrastructures to support the new technology. The impact of these changes must not be underestimated but this is not the concern of educators.

The real debate centres around when and where to use the device to support existing methodology. Educators are constantly searching for support to help get to grips with new technology and social media is playing a significant role.

We are all learning together on that one!

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


iPad Classroom Term?- 10 Things to consider

If the iPad is making a ‘move’ on your classroom this year then these ten points are worth considering:

  1. Check your wireless network for everything from capacity to ‘dead-zones’. Leave no stone unturned as a failing wireless network will severely hamper iPad use in school.
  2. Be hands on with apps/methods you might ask students to use and see what it is like to produce ‘work’. The iPad is just a device and without an informed educator it will be ineffective as a learning tool.
  3. Set out clear behaviour guidelines and link them to school policy. Consistent expectations when using the iPads can help prevent the device from being a disruption.
  4. Don’t expect an app to ‘teach’ a lesson. Many educators ask if there is an app that will specifically deliver a part of a course/syllabus. Apps should be seen as another way to enhance learning and if they don’t work you can still use existing methods to deliver the lesson.
  5. Start slow. Use one or two apps/function and allow the students to get used to the device and its nuances.
  6. Decide on a workflow solution and stick to it. If you are going to use EdmodoDropboxEvernote etc to set assigments or collect work, you should make a decision as to which is the best option(s). Changing the workflow pattern can be disruptive for students and difficult to maintain above the usual collection of paper.
  7. Consider how you are going to display work in class. The simplest method would be to link Apple TV to a projector but there are different programmes out there to link a desktop to the iPad. With Apple TV any iPad can be mirrored to the projector as long as the user knows the password. When students are aware their work could be displayed, at any time, it has a dramatic impact on their focus and productivity.
  8. Be prepared for lessons to change as students progress and have fun doing it. There are so many opportunities to personalise a lesson for the student(s) when they have a device in front of them. As long as the objective is kept in mind the students can find themselves all doing something different to get to the same result!
  9. Ask for feedback from everybody. Peers, observers and students are integral to the development of iPad use in the classroom. Students are always honest and are happy to say what went well and/or badly.
  10. Share your experiences – on Twitter, on a blog or in the staffroom. So many people are willing to help or discuss iPad use it makes sense to make use of the free professional development.

After a year of iPad use, it is clear to me that it can be a very effective tool for learning. Students and educators can all learn together with the device and it complements existing methodology. It does take sustained effort and an acceptance there will be challenges to overcome, however, it is definitely worth it.

Please add any other pointers in the comments section. Contributions are much appreciated.

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized