iPad Withdrawl and Reflection

Although I’m having iPad withdrawal right now, and it’s painful to talk about it, I would like to thank UkanTeach and especially Carol Williamson for allowing me to explore and use one of the new iPad 2s our program just received. The academic activities I used the iPad for were 1) creating a lesson that utilized technology and 2) a subtraction club meeting where we explored and discussed iPads as teaching tools.

                In my three weeks with the iPad, I would categorize my use of it into three categories: 

  • Reference (or source of information)- safari, common core standards app, research work, ibooks
  • Connection- drop box, email, twitter, read blogs, youtube, watch ted videos
  • Tools- camera/ video camera, Pandora (music- I like to listen to music when I study), clicker app (Socrative), DocScan, video maker, pdf note taker (highlight etc)

I should have written this when I still had the ipad because I’ve forgotten a lot of the apps I used less frequently.  However, I don’t think it’s the specific apps that make having an ipad so great. But instead it’s the thoughts and the direction an iPad puts into your head: the inspirational videos, the fact that I can take a picture of a student’s work to grade, that I can drop a file into a folder and it would go out to all the iPads, the ability to create a book for the iPad, etc. In the hands of a preservice teacher, iPads open up so many more possibilities and helped me at least to start thinking bigger, to start thinking instead of what have we done (how do we teach now) and start thinking about what could we do? How can it be done better? What tools have I not found- or better yet- what do I want to do that there isn’t a tool for yet and how can we create it?

Technology in itself is inspiring, so what makes the iPad so great. You know I haven’t played with any other tablets, but what I really liked about the iPad was that it was very portable and that there’s practically an app for everything. There is also a community associated with iPads and using iPads in education. There isn’t so much a community (rather the whole world) that tries to use the internet or technology in general for education- so I liked the aspect of being a part of a community and being able to read article after article of how Apple envisions using the iPads for teaching and students. I also think iPads are great because Apple wants you to have them- there is a ton of grant money out there and a lot of schools are moving toward buying iPads for every student as opposed to standard computer labs.

                However, perhaps the most useful aspect of the iPad, that which sets it apart from other technologies, is the iBooks Author, and the ability to create custom made teaching materials. At the same time though, iBooks Author still has a long way to go before it lives up to its full potential. Why do I say this? For the following reasons:

  • The interface is still too much like a textbook. Kids don’t read text books much these days.
  • There is no actual interactive feature where students write into the book and it’s sent to the teacher.
  • There aren’t enough tools to let students manipulate variables like change m and b on a graph that shows a linear line (it’s possible, but most teachers don’t know how to code this)

Lastly, problem with the ipad- there’s no sign in setting so that you can have multiple students using the same iPad but with different settings.

       More to come on this topic- But I would like to reiterate my gratitude to my program for giving me the opportunity to explore and become inspired by these iPads. I truly believe they are going to change the way we educate and I am excited to be a part of it. 

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