Technology has infiltrated our lives and have brought dramatic changes in our society in the last 20 years. How we educate children, though, has not kept pace with these changes. But today, educational reformers have a vision for a new educational model based on technology and individual learning. The introduction of the iPad, with its easy to manipulate touch screen technology, has allowed even very young children to take advantage of a computer. Its portable format and fast load-up time has made it possible for them to be used easily in the classroom. It has influenced the lives of children in many other ways. Let’s summarize few of them.
Ways in which iPads have revolutionized the life of children in schools:
Children now have endless access to valuable information such as a dictionary and thesaurus, which previously were only available in printed format. Interactive technology has made learning more engaging and memorable. Tools such as audio and video recorders can change the way that learning takes place and homework is completed. The iPad is great for surfing the web and researching topics in or out of the classroom.
Video creation and editing is simple on the iPad. This can be a great group activity to encourage collaboration. Unfortunately Flash is not supported on the iPad, so watching videos (except on YouTube) is not always possible. Videos [LINK] can be watched on the interactive whiteboard if required.
Taking notes during class
The iPad is portable and handy. It is easy to carry around with books making it the ideal tool to take notes and store all of a teacher’s lecture material.
The main advantage of everyone having an iPad has been the improvement in communication. Documents are emailed straight over to colleagues during a meeting. Children submit their homework by email, or through the school’s virtual learning environment. Teachers now take the register using their iPad, which means that there is a centralised record of which children are in school, and which classroom they are in, that every teacher has access to.
Live debates and discussion forums
Setting a discussion topic for homework is ideal for encouraging participation from the more nervous members of the class. Students are encouraged to take part in a live debate for their evening homework using the school virtual learning environment and are marked on their level of engagement and responses.
Sharing of resources:
Working as a group in class is much easier as children can share documents. Children who previously did not have access to the internet at home are given the same opportunities as their peers. The whole class can look at one child’s work by attaching the iPad to the interactive whiteboard. If a child has forgotten their textbook, the teacher can take a photograph of the relevant page and send it to the student in class
There are several excellent mind mapping apps on the iPad which makes revision enjoyable and effective.
The whole class contributing to a blog can be a rewarding experience which allows the students to get their first taste of getting published on the web.
The iPad has changed art lessons for good – there are so many fantastic art apps which allow drawing and painting.
Talking to students from abroad
This is particularly useful for language lessons: Skype can be set up so that video conferences can be arranged with schools in other countries. Video pen pals allow students from different countries to talk, practice their language skills and share their cultural differences.
Not long ago, children were allowed to use mobile phones in the school playground. But now they’re actually being encouraged to bring smartphones out in the classroom, not to mention Kindles, iPads, Wiis and hand-held games consoles such as Nintendo DSs. Even exams are changing out of all recognition. In the recent future, we might also see children taking internet-connected devices into exam halls, meaning no more need for memorization! All they need to do is just…Google it…!!!
The invention of iPad has opened up a new, younger target market of preschoolers infatuated by what educational researchers have described as a “rattle on steroids”. While the use of the iPad in schools has revolutionized the way children are taught, it hasn’t completely replaced more traditional methods of teaching. A lot of US schools are investing in these devices in order to reduce the cost burden of textbooks and the environmental burden of paper and, of course, in order to stimulate learning. These devices have proven positive effect on the way children learn, maximizing their achievement and improving educational outcomes. The iPad symbolizes how a bottom-up, spontaneous, self-organizing system of education will change how we learn, in the very near future.