iPads; Toy or Learning Tool?

I was recently asked if my students “played” on the iPads a lot. The question was intended to be offensive, but rather reflective of a misconception by some, around the integration of iPads into education. iPad use in my classroom is not an activity, but rather they are a tool; much like a pencil or a chalkboard. I am not alone here, there are many innovative educators that have adopted this technology and found engaging ways to incorporate it into their programs.

So here is the thing. Technology is sexy. It’s flashy. It’s engaging. What it is not, is education. An iPad on its own is as useful as a pencil that is not picked up. As facilitators, I think we are responsible for looking for ways to use this appeal to amp up our pedagogy. The burning questions seems to be, how do we do that?

I think the answer really depends on the educator. How comfortable they are using the technology, and what their purpose is. Whatever it looks like, it should be engaging and efficient. If it is creating more work, it isn’t effective!

So, what are my kids doing on the iPads, if they aren’t playing? In a nutshell; researching, documenting, collaborating, creating and sharing their work. They are blogging, tweeting and learning what it means to be a responsible digital citizens. And, more often than not….they are teaching me something new or cool that they discovered.

I came across a quote not long ago, and really wish I knew the author to give due credit. It said, “pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator”, and this pretty much sums up my philosophy.

So, next time you see a teacher wheeling a cart of iPads to their room, please remember it isn’t an overpriced toy box on wheels!

Some apps worth checking out:
Edmodo
KidBlog
Explain Everything
Write About This
Educreations

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2 thoughts on “iPads; Toy or Learning Tool?

  1. It is definitely about pedagogy and unless teachers are willing to learn about these new tools, they will argue them forever simply because they do not understand.

    I know what your class does on iPads and I see real value in it.

    My class has never been more organized thanks to Google Drive!

    I hate hearing about classes that get to ‘play’ on iPads as a reward at the end of the week. Completely destroys the outlook of those tools.

  2. Thanks Brian,

    Mindset is definitely a major factor, unless it changes I agree that many will continue to argue the merits of their use in educator .

    I too love Google Drive (though my primary students don’t use it as much as I do).

    I just have a hard time wrapping my head around why people wouldn’t want to use a tool that makes life in the classroom more efficient, organized and engaging!

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