The iPad: Newest Cutting-Edge Tech Tool In Education?

ipad schools teachers

The announcement of the iPad, which was set to be released on April 3, 2010, had many educators buzzing: How can I use this technology with my children? Will this be an affordable technology tool for my kids to learn 21st century skills?

Desktop Alternative

The iPad is a portable computing device. It isn’t as powerful as a laptop, but it has more tools than an iPod. The iPad has a touch screen, is thin and convenient, and doesn’t need any extra peripherals to function. The long battery life of the iPad can make it a useful tool all day in the classroom. The lower cost of the iPad (WiFi only version) makes it a possible desktop alternative for schools to consider. A more powerful version of the iPad with increased storage space and 3G connection is also available for more computing and accessibility power.

My curiosity about the iPad stems from the fact that it would allow kids to easily access information and computing tools – all within one portable device.

Replacement for Traditional Textbooks

One possible advantage of the iPad is that it could be used to view textbooks and be a replacement for traditional textbooks. Many textbook publishers now have electronic versions of their textbooks available. This would save space and possibly money.

Internet

Kids could also access the Internet for research purposes through a filtered Wi-Fi connection. With the built-in audio and the headphone jack, students could have accessibility to watch online educational videos right from their own seat, at their own pace. They could also have access to their email and online ‘cloud’ storage devices or programs (Office Live).

Communication Tool

iPad’s could also aid in communication between parents, students, their peers. Ease of accessibility allows everyone to stay connected. Children can use the calendar function to type in their homework assignments, upcoming tests, and extra-curricular activities. The notes area can be utilized to take notes during a lecture or discussion. I see the iPad as assisting the students to learn organizational skills without having to have 6 binders, a separate agenda, and papers strewn about in their bags.

Multimedia Tools

Children could also use iBooks to purchase and download the novels they are reading in Language Arts. This would save a trip to the bookstore, where the copies of the novels they are reading are typically out of stock because of the high demand in such a short period of time. They can also download educational podcasts and listen to them and complete different assignments based on the podcast. The Maps function would be great for both history and geography. They can actually see the countries they are learning about right when they are being discussed or even follow the trails of the explorers.

One of the neat accessories for the iPad is the case. The case is used to protect the iPad screen, but can also be adjusted several different ways to act as a stand. The iPad also works with the iWork applications. This would also allow children to use Key Note, Pages, and Numbers to create presentations, text-based documents, and spreadsheets.

iPad in Education

What I am most curious about is how the Apps store can be utilized in education. With the release of the iPad and the possibility of schools integrating this new tool, will app developers jump on board to create educational apps that can be utilized for learning? This could be one of the biggest successes of the use of the iPad in education. Already there are many educational apps including weather, calculators, astronomy, chemistry charts, literary reviews, and spelling games. Being able to use apps that integrate current data and trends with educational standards and textbooks would make learning more meaningful.

Post by Laura Ketcham

Photo by Korosirego

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