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.
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.