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Monday, 25 February 2013

Completing the Set

Building on my pervious post, I have gone ahead and attempted to compile a list of reasons for investing in more iPads for student use in lessons. I am currently interested in bumping up our pilot collection to a full class set, 10 of which would be iPad Minis. 

So here we go.
These are my 20 reasons for implement a class set of ipads. This is by no means an argument for their implementation of iPads as desktop or laptop replacements. iPads and computers, both desktop and laptop are very different different devices with different strengths and weaknesses.  Instead this list exemplifies the reasons I see as important for bringing iPads into the classroom for use as the best tool for many jobs. 

  1. The auditory, kinesthetic and visual aspects of the iPad appeal to different learners and learning styles.
  2. Students can work collaboratively in learning pods more easily with iPads, than they can in a traditional computer lab. Collaborative work is facilitated either on one device or across devices depending on the task and the apps being used.
  3. Students already use  a wide range of different smartphones and tablets. They are familiar with touch screen technology and take to them easily. Our students also see the potential of the tablet and not only choose them as their tool of choice in lessons, but also book them outside of lessons often for audio and video work.
  4. We are beginning work with Evernote this year and it runs flawlessly on the ipad for research, notetaking and the gathering of multimedia resources. 
  5. The set or partial set would be available for booking by other departments when not in use in ICT. Our English teachers have already started using them at times for their digital storytelling assignments.
  6.  iPads are viewed by many as devices for content consumption. That is a very shallow view of the potential the tablet offers.  I would argue that their greatest value in education is content creation. We use them extensively for content creation, such as work with digital video, digital books, podcasts and digital presentations using apps like Voicethread and Storykit. The beauty of the iPad is that this type of work can easily take place from start to finish on one device, with no need for external cameras,card readers, cables, or desktop computers.
  7. Having a class set will allow them to be used more effectively in lessons. At present students are partnered up, which works well for some activities but not all. 
  8. With careful planning a class set of iPads will free up our iMac lab for for certain lessons and even entire units of study.
  9. Initial work with the younger grades, involving audio and video can be done on the iPads, instead of the iMacs. The applications are much simpler to use, and although they do not offer all the bells and whistles that iMovie and GarageBand do on the iMacs. There is sufficient there for our youngest students to explore and apply creatively, without overwhelming them. 
  10. iPads  are great for starter activities in lessons and we have experimented with online apps like AnswerGarden and Quizlet with great success. Right now our students must share iPads, so responses are not always individualised.
  11. Our iPads are well on their way  (in some cases already have) becoming student personal learning studios.
  12. Notably, Server storage for projects including heavy multimedia is no longer as necessary as storage solutions have moved to the cloud.
  13. iPads are brilliant for Mobile learning. Students can take them any place anywhere at anytime. This means for example, that they can be down at the pond taking photos and recording their observations with Evernote or Fotobabble, annotating their findings with Skitch, showing their understanding with Explain Everything all on the go. 
  14. A lesser investment in hardware spending may result. Not as many desktops will be required, and those we have may last longer. There are no mice or keyboards to break or go missing. 
  15. iPads are inexpensive in comparison to a desktop computer and more powerful than many and apps are relatively inexpensive and often free.
  16. Storage and space issues are minimal, desktops take a lot more space and a small set of iPads can be locked away in most cabinets.
  17. We already have a system in place for app purchases. Developer support is great. There are so very many apps to choose from many free for our needs, and these are updated constantly.
  18. After the initial sync, a small set can be synced ever few months usually in under an hour.
  19. Little maintenance is needed and application installation is easy.
  20. We already have systems in place for student use of the devices, which includes a device email address and dropbox account for transfer of work.

I hope that this list is useful in illustrating why a class set of iPads is a sound educational investment. I would love to hear back from others on this, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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