Many of us look at schools in which there is 1:1 iPad or Netbook implementation and drool with envy. “If only our schools were as innovative” or, let’s face it, “as rich, as these other schools” we think to ourselves.
However, the other side of the coin is that many teachers also see iPads as nothing more than overrated books that glow. Is there no middle ground?
I think there is. Our department is currently assessing the potential impact of iPads in the classroom and, in order to do that, we have bought one. Just the one. For now. See how it goes.
You see, we feel that iPads are a great idea but we think that we need to develop pedagogically sound strategies and good practice before we consider buying any more. Our only iPad is currently used as part of teacher-centred activities (boring, I know, but there’s more: read on) and as part of a carousel of activities in which students work in groups through a number of activities, one of which includes the use of our iPad.
The comic above, for example, was created in one of these activities using Comic Life, a fantastic and very reasonably priced iPad app.
It’s still very early days and our iPad’s use is obviously limited by its uniqueness, as we only have the one tablet. However it is already showing great promise, not only being used in lessons, but also in allowing us to explore and develop different and innovative ways to provide our students with relevant content.
The screenshots below were taken from a e-book (i-book?) we are working on that contains bespoke material to help our students learn about Transition to Democracy in Spain. The material was written using Pages (Apple’s answer to Word), which, in turn, allows document export in ePub format – the format you need to read it on an e-book reader.
If the e-book reader happens to be an iPad, then the export process also allows you to embed sound and video clips as well as pictures and text, bringing the subject to life in front of our very eyes.
So, the iPad certainly glows. And it is a book of sorts. However, it is also much more than a book that glows. I cannot wait to continue exploring its possibilities in my classroom.
What do you think? Do you or do you not iPad?
Cover photo by Leondel