Central York’s iPads in the Classroom Opinion

There has been much debate in our community if whether, or not, iPads in the classroom are a good idea. Some people believe they are too much of a distraction and limits personal interaction. Others believe that it allows students to better share their work and prepare for this 21st century world.

I have been lucky enough to experience iPads in the classroom, first hand. My teachers have revised their lessons to better incorporate these tablets into the learning experience. Each of the students in my class has their own iPad that they use throughout the day. We are also allowed to take them home.

I like the concept of having technology play an important role in education. However, I don’t think using iPads is the right way to do this. They are great for doing research, but when it comes to other things, it gets tricky. Teachers often expect us to take notes, write stories, and create complex projects on our tablet. This is extremely frustrating because there is only so much a student can do with an iPad. In many ways, we are limited to how well the iPad is functioning. Often times, we have to deal with glitches and apps crashing.

This takes away from the time we should be spending learning. For example, if the Wi-Fi was to go down in the school, teachers would have a hard time conducting class. Right now, we are relying too heavily on the internet. When the Wi-Fi goes down, students can’t do their online work and the iPads become useless.

Overall, I think Central had good intentions when they gave us iPads. It has been a fun experience working with these tablets, but I would not recommend this become a nation wide thing. There are too many problems that could result from the use of these tablets. Sometimes, the old ways are the right ways. I’d take my pencil and paper over a  stylus and a tablet any day.

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2 Responses to Central York’s iPads in the Classroom Opinion

  1. Bob Carmody says:

    There are a lot of factors that go into issues with the WiFi. But lets not broadly blame WiFi as a technology. WiFi is expanding at a fast pace. With the development of 802.11N and now 802.11ac wireless will be utilized more and more as time goes on.

    There are several factors that are key to having a properly functioning WiFi network that can enhance the student teacher experience.

    1) A Proper design should be performed by a trained wireless professional.
    2) During the design capacity is an extremely important factor that must be considered not just coverage. If too many devices are trying to do too much on a single AP it can become overwhelmed.
    3) Choosing the proper equipment for your deployment needs is crucial. Deploying consumer grade AP’s from best buy simply can’t handle the requirements of an enterprise grade network.

    I have deployed tens of thousands of wireless access points and designed and supported hundreds of networks. I have have seen first hand how IPads and other wireless devices can enhance the learning experience. So lets not blame “WiFi” but realize that if it is not designed and configured properly by a professional you may not get the results you hope for.

  2. Bob Carmody says:

    My first comment of course was in response to the performance of the WiFi network.

    In relation to the point about the IPad not being very interactive that can be true to an extent but there are programs out there that can assist with making the IPad more user friendly for teaching. Some features include:

    Voting –
    Each device acts as a classroom response system where students can respond to teacher questions.

    Testing –
    iOS iPad students can take electronic tests including: True/False, Multiple Choice, Short Answer, and Essay Questions delivered by the Teacher.

    Monitor web activity –
    Monitor, limit and track web browsing on iPads through the new integrated web browser

    Screen Broadcast –
    A Student app includes the ability to receive “Show Teacher” and “Show Student” screen broadcasts to demonstrate key concepts

    And there is much more. I am just trying to say that there are options and that both IPads and laptops can be extremely useful learning tools with a properly designed WiFi Network and supporting software.

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