With the advent of the iPad and other tablet computing devices, the physical textbook’s days are seemingly numbered. The iPad offers the ability to store multiple digital textbooks and resources on a single, portable device. Not only are these resources concentrated in one place and easily accessibly, the actual cost of holding these textbooks on the iPad is significantly less than purchasing physical textbooks, so we’re talking about schools districts being able to save money here. Let’s not also forget that the iPad can hold a student’s attention for the simple reason that it is a brand new technology that is capable of so much all at their fingertips (literally).
But can the iPad actually help students learn? The New York Times recently published an article that found that stagnant test scores have shown that devices such as the iPad may not actually help students improve in school. The article states the point that while the iPad does provide more avenues for students to learn, some of those avenues may not effectively teach the student the concept but rather make the student increasingly dependent on memorization and in some cases, a complete disregard of the basics.
While the concerns raised in the New York Times article are legitimate, let’s also keep in mind that we shouldn’t treat technology as the limiting factor here. Just like the materials that a teacher uses in the classroom, the true measurement for learning shouldn’t be on the materials themselves but rather how these materials are utilized in the learning process. The classroom activities that can successfully integrate the capabilities of this new technology can ultimately spur a child to become more involved with his or her learning.
This all falls on the teacher to do their homework on the iPad. A teacher just can’t hand a student an iPad, have them play a few games, and expect them to learn anything useful. A teacher must be able to make sure these iPad activities are engaging enough so that the student not only knows what a concept is but also why and how that concept came to be. Like all other classroom activities, the teachers must find a way to trigger the students’ desire to learn.
Turning to you, what do you think about using the iPad for lesson plans in the classroom? What are some creative ways you are able to engage students using the iPad?
With all this iPad talk, you’re probably wondering whether you can access Discovery Education Streaming on the device! Simply go to mobile.discoveryeducation.com on your iPad and you will then have all the streaming videos at your fingertips! More information about our iPad site can be found here.