Using iPads in education
In the Mac 20 Questions podcast, I have already spoken to a guy that was responsible for deploying 120 iPads within his school in Scotland. In that case the school had taken the forward-looking decision to use iPads for educational purposes. Fraser Spiers saw to it that all of the students in the school had an iPad to use of their own. Teachers sorted out what educational iPad apps should be used on the Apple tablet. It seems that the teachers needed to experiment to work out which were the best educational apps for iPad to use for their subject. Without a doubt, we are going to see a lot more of the iPad in education. I certainly wish that I had, had the opportunity of an iPad education.
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Making it happen – iPads in education
Honestly, making sure that all of the students and teachers within a school had iPads would be a mammoth task. Even in a school that is fairly small. There is the problem of getting the powers that be to make the decision in the first place. Much of the decision will also revolve around the cost of implementing the iPad in education. Money has to be found, first of all to buy the hardware and then also, money has to be put to one side to fund the best educational iPad apps. There are also a number of schools in America that have managed to persuade the school district to let them have the iPad in the classroom. Here in Spain, Apple do not have a very good hold on the computer market in general. Despite the phenomenal interest in the iPad internationally, within Spain you are more likely to see cheap Windows computers being used. This is the case in the school in which I teach English.
The best iPad apps for education
Interactivity and a rich experience with a variety of media is what you would expect to see in the best iPad apps for education. Children have to learn an enormous amount of information, facts and figures, that have to be committed to memory. It seems a little bit of an anomaly in this computer information age, that’s the only way to test a child thinking abilities is to have lessons where they have to remember stuff and prove that they have remembered it in an exam or tests.
Wouldn’t it be better to have some way of testing the skills of creative thinking and showing initiative. Even though there are always changes being brought about within education, they come from within the education system itself. For this reason, many are changes that are at best tweaks, to what is already there. Will it be that the disruptive force of technology and the Internet will finally have a creative effect on education.
My own experience of iPads in education
In the school where I am teaching, my iPad is the only iPad in the school. There is one teacher in there that uses a Mac and all of the other poor souls have to rely on the crappy Windows interface. There are cheap laptop computers, one in each room that is locked away for the teachers use. It is connected to an overhead projector and I have used one to show video clips to the class. I haven’t looked in all of the classrooms, but I haven’t yet found one with one of those interactive electronic blackboards that you find in most, if not all English schools. I would love to be able to have a play with one of those latest pieces of educational technology. It would be nicer still, if I was able to connect a Mac or even better an iPad to the device.
iPads in education for the teacher
On account of the fact that I dislike using the Windows computers so much, I have made as much use of my iPad while teaching as possible. Yesterday in school I used my iPad to take the class register of attendance. For that I used the database application called Bento. This might not be one of the best iPad apps for education, but it certainly is very useful. There are Bento templates available that have been designed by teachers for use in education establishments.
Another use I have found for iPads in education is for the playing of audio clips. I have found that the volume is loud enough within a normal sized classroom for me to be able to play a section of audio to the class. This is much better than using a CD with the audio, as it is much easier to repeat a track and also to select within a track. To do this iPad education trick, I used the music application on the iPad. I had all the tracks from the CD ripped into an album, that I could get to quickly while in class.
Other uses for iPads in education
I have found that one of the best iPad apps for education is a plain note taking application. I used one of the notetaking applications that allows me to write and draw, either with a stylus or just with the finger. I find that pieces of paper always get lost, so having an iPad application that allows me to make quick written notes is very useful. When I have a small group of people in my class, I can write a word or two on the iPad screen to show them. What is also possible, with these iPad education apps is for me to send the note to my students as a PDF after the class is done and finished. This way they get a reminder of what we did in the classroom which helps them store the information into long-term memory. Of course I also use Evernote and Skitch everyday.
iPads in education is the future
It does look like Apple has the educational market fairly well sewn up with the iPad. This would be on account of the large number of educational apps for iPad, available for teachers and students. Teachers can create an iPad education for the classroom using the best iPad apps for education. How have you used the iPad for educational purposes? What about textbooks for the iPad? Do you expect to use iPads in Education? Leave a comment below, I am looking forward to hearing from you.