Apple’s iPad is finally here.
Amid the hype and speculation of its features and design are also the musings of educators seeking to enhance student learning experiences in their classrooms.
Educational soundboards everywhere are asking readers for ideas on how to utilize the new iPad in their classrooms.
More than finding ways to integrate technology into the classroom with the iPad, I’m interested to see how this will affect application development through the App Store, and, most importantly – whether it will drive change in textbook publishing.
Online textbooks are more readily available, and what better way to interact with your studies than to curl up with an iPad? You can use your fingers to zoom, scroll and flip pages, and there are no library fines for dog-eared pages.
What we need, though, is the ability to annotate your textbook and make choices about learning.
Is reading text enough for you? Or, do you need to doodle in the margins, underline and highlight words, or even jot thoughts down on a sticky note. Maybe you need to hear the text, or see a video, image, or animation? Perhaps you would learn best by interacting with an applet on your eReader and stacking up bricks to make a physics theorem really ‘happen’?
Going further, perhaps you think of a question while reading and want to leave it on the blog of an expert. Or, you have finished reading your assignment and want to take the end of chapter quiz to check your comprehension – with immediate feedback, of course. Maybe something you read catches your attention, so you record a sound file with your thoughts and tag it to a certain phrase from the text for pondering later. There are also links to further reading, videos, websites, blogs and assignments, all provided by your teacher. These textbook interactions are where education is headed.
In a study released last week by The Kaiser Family Foundation, groups of students were observed and surveyed in 1999, 2004 and 2009 about their media use. Theses students, ages 8-18, are spending 8-10 hours of their day interacting with media devices like phones, computers, mp3 players, and TVs. The study also reported that students with the highest number of hours media use reported the lowest grades, most discipline problems, and most feelings of boredom, sadness or fatigue.
I hear many educators discuss how technology integration – especially with devices like the iPad – will be the savior that our institutions need. Collaboration and access to resources will increase, as well as enthusiasm and participation. But if students are already spending all of their waking hours outside of school engrossed in some sort of media device, won’t teachers still be struggling to find new ways to captivate their audience, even if they do have a shiny new Apple?