iPads in the Classroom: The Future?

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I was reading an article about the use of iPads in the classroom, and it really convinced me what a great solution iPads, or any other tablet computer, are for bringing technology into the classroom. Of course, I see the benefit of this technology allowing for more inverted learning, which, as we've mentioned before, is a method Thinkwell truly supports. I also see this as a way for more students to be exposed to better teachers like our own via online courses and apps like our Calculus app for the iPad.

The author writes about visiting a pilot classroom where iPads are being utilized as a teaching tool. The author, Tina Barseghian, found that while the iPads were being used to watch videos, the teacher was still key and the focus of the classroom was on enrichment and individualized learning instead of just lecturing.

However, I was shocked by the negativity I saw from the very first comment: "That kids love learning by watching videos is nonsense. Who wouldn't rather zone out watching a video instead of listening to a teacher?" This commenter had much more to say, but to me it was clear that this person has never come in contact with learning by video. They had never seen any of our videos on YouTube or even heard of the Khan Academy. They hadn't seen the many comments from students who felt these videos helped them where their teacher or textbook did not. This person also didn't consider the fact that if a student hasn't watched the video, it will become obvious in class when the teacher attempts to build on what the student should have already learned.

The comment that got me the most was someone complaining that the following statement should make every parent angry: "Let students cover the basics on their own, and let teachers delve into enrichment and individualized learning. That's what the good teachers are telling me." My assertion is this should make parents happy. This system helps ensure students don't get left behind and instead allows teachers to focus on the students who need help. As students move forward, more and more of their education becomes their own responsibility. No one in college holds you by the hand and leads you through learning. Instead, you are given lectures and textbooks and expected to succeed. Wouldn't a system that encourages students to cover the basics on their own also teach a student to succeed in college--not to mention in life?

Of course there were several comments from people who recognized the value of technology in learning and appreciated how it allows children to dig deeper into subjects. One person even pointed out how grateful he was that the iPad replaced the fifty pounds of books their children were carting around in their backpacks.

Folks, what we're seeing is an evolution in education. And people are very resistant to change, especially when it involves their children. But as with all large changes, I think we'll see these early adapters begin to show improvements and slowly bring the protesters on board. What do you think about the direction technology in education is going, and where would you like to see it go?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by April Stockwell published on February 2, 2011 12:35 PM.

Physics in Action: The Hunter and the Monkey was the previous entry in this blog.

Physics in Action: Toss-and-Catch from Two Points of View is the next entry in this blog.

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