According to one statistic, more than 4.5 million students in the United States use touchpads, including iPads, in a classroom every day. Students say that the iPad has made it easier to make notes on PDF documents, organize work, and work at their own pace.
Teachers say that the iPad allows for improved record keeping of students’ progress. Assessments can be scored quickly, providing students with almost immediate feedback.
When put to use, the iPad has increased students’ performance in reading, and studies report increased motivation.
The iPad has many possibilities beyond its main use for reading electronic textbooks. It’s not the iPad that makes things happen in the classroom—it’s how the iPad is used. When instructors learn how to effectively take advantage of its capabilities for supporting teaching, the iPad can revolutionize the way students are taught.
Teachers need training on how to integrate iPads into the classroom. For example, they need to know how to create videos before they can ask their students to do that.
A teacher who can create a video or a presentation with text, images, and video can begin to see how the iPad can enhance instruction. Teachers learn to think creatively as they steer away from electronic textbooks and develop lessons using digital media.
Content Creation—There’s an App for That
If they are going to use apps, they need training on how to use them. Teachers could benefit from IT staff who have explored and narrowed down the thousands of apps available to ones that best apply within their grade or school system.
With presentation apps, like Nearpod, Keynote, and Haiku Deck, teachers can create slides that include text, images, and video. The teacher is in charge of developing the content and can control the lesson pace. A lesson might include an instructional video of the teacher presenting key concepts, exercises for students to apply learning, and a quick quiz to measure learning. Students can also view each presentation multiple times outside the classroom.
Students Create with iPads
In the same way that teachers use apps to create content, students develop critical thinking skills by becoming content creators in their own right.
“The Smart Way to Use iPads in the Classroom” describes a visit to a Swiss school, where teachers focus not on outcomes, but on content creation. Students use the iPads as video cameras, audio recorders, and multimedia notebooks. Students become creators, not consumers.
Digital learning using both the iPad and the specific apps that meet teachers’ needs has one huge benefit—students are developing IT skills that they will need when they enter the workforce. Students are more often the ones that teachers turn to in order to solve technical problems and figure out how to use apps and programs. That in itself is a strong reason to use twenty-first-century media in today’s classroom.