Archive for May, 2011

Will the iPad change learning?

Posted on May 16, 2011. Filed under: educational, reflection, teaching and learning, Technology | Tags: , , |

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I have bought my first iPad and I love it. I bought the ipad2 and I have started to play around with some of the apps. I am excited to use it with my Smartboard next year and see how it will make “techno-geek-learning” more portable. I take part in a Twitter chat on Monday nights called #kinderchat and these teachers and parents have inspired me with what they are doing on the iPad and in their classrooms.

They have shifted my thinking away from the traditional classroom where teachers stand at the front of the room and the kids sit in the desks. These teachers are passionate about play, but more then that, they are passionate about valuable learning experiences. Yes, they agree that the iPad is a valuable tool that can be used in early childhood classrooms, but we have been talking about how it’s just ANOTHER tool that should be used in classrooms. The iPad is unique in that it is quite interactive and the learner isn’t always passive, but I have been in too many interactive white boards will change the world conversations that have made me a realist when it comes to one type of technology changing all of education. People thought that the IWB was going to change classrooms into these engaging, collaborative environments and sometimes, all it did was reinforce the “teacher as knowledge giver” style learning.

I think the iPad will change learning in 3 ways:
1) That the Internet/ Google/ “search” will be more accessible then it has been in the past. A hard history question in the past would have to be researched, and the answer would have to be looked for. Now, the answer can be googled in 45 seconds. Does this change learning? Yes! It means that as teachers, if our questions can be answered in 2 mins by a google search, we are asking the wrong question! It means that learners are going to be face paced information retrievers who need to be taught how to validate what they are reading. It means that phones, iPads and tablets should be available and accepted so we can move past the easy questions and get to some real learning.

2) I think the iPad will make learning more collaborative. I think about how I plan on using it in my grade 1/2 classroom next year, and I plan on walking around the classroom with my iPad in hand so that I can look over my students shoulders, take pictures and tidbits of their work and display it on the screen at the front for us to build off of in real time. I think that if everyone in the class had an iPad accessible to them, apps like FaceTime could be used for collaboration and information sharing. The Disneyland trip that pulls your kid out of class for a week suddenly becomes a learning opportunity for the whole classroom. Something the kids are interested in, like rides or Disney princesses, takes on a whole new meaning, and now instead of seeing Disney characters only on lunch boxes and velcro shoes, we see it on kids online journals, it becomes writing prompts, useful information and collaborative learning.

3) Last, I think the iPad will change reading. I watched mike matas TED talk on the new digital book. It is amazing to see how reading has now become so much more interactive. You can stop reading, check out a video that corresponds to the explanation, flip forward and flip backward without losing your spot. It’s like you are using 7 little cute puppy bookmarks (the ones we all had) in one book, and it doesn’t matter if you doggy ear the page; In fact, it would be encouraged! The depth of understanding is so much greater when a book can appeal to almost all the senses! It also challenges the traditional view of literacy. Today, one would say that if you cannot pick up a book and read, you are illiterate. I would say that many “illiterate” people would be able to read a digital book, where a lot of highly literate people would not know the first thing about navigating through a digital book. How will THAT change our world’s sense of power and affluence?

That was quite the tangent. All that to say… I love my iPad. This technology has already changed me and I can’t wait to see how it’s going to affect and add to my teaching. Any thoughts? Write a comment, follow me on Twitter #mrsmaley or email me bahslerd@gmail.com I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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