July 1, 2011

iPad Possibilities in the Classroom

Filed under: June 2011 — mbrown @ 9:34 am

Written by Melanie Bacon
It is summertime, the opportunity to take a break, reflect on the past year, dream about what could be done in the classroom, and explore new resources to weave into the curriculum next year. One of the latest and greatest tools for the classroom is the iPad 2, a mobile solution to provide students the capacity to engage activities at every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, even hitting the highest level of creation. Many schools in the Phase 9 TRC grant will be exploring the potential of iPads in the classroom, and we are excited to share some of the best resources to begin the exciting journey.  In the coming months we will also feature resources for specific content areas, including math, science, language arts and social studies.

The Department of Education and Childhood Development in Victoria, Australia, provides a great Web site named iPads for Learning that provides first-hand reports about the implementation and results from a trial including over 700 iPads deployed in nine schools. Robust PDF reports that include the steps involved in developing the program as well as the theoretical framework to support instruction with iPads are just a few examples of great resources from this Web site.

We can also look closer to home in a small country school district named Southeast of Saline in Gypsum, KS. They are years into their one-to-one iPod touch initiative, and many of the lessons learned can be transferred to implementing iPads. I had the wonderful opportunity to observe a classroom in Gypsum and witness the power of self-directed student learning with touch technology. Learning from the experiences of others is an important first step when embarking on a mobile initiative. We discussed management concerns, using email to distribute assignments and learning resources, and strategies to develop lessons. Teachers visit the iTunes store daily to find the latest, greatest FREE apps. One of the most powerful moments during my site visit involved the teachers’ discussion of the role students play in creating lessons. Students developed the concept of teaching fractions with Cupcake Creator, and it has been a successful lesson since its inception!

To help you get started in the review of great iPad resources for your classroom, please visit some of the best places I’ve found to learn about great apps.

1)   Follow what leaders in the field of technology in education recommend via Twitter or Diigo. A great example is the iPad in Education group in Diigo or Tom Barrat’s Google presentation of 62 Interesting Ways to use an iPad in the Classroom.

2)   Subscribe to feeds from Web sites created by leaders in the field, such as Kathy Shrock’s iPads in the Classroom Web site or Michael Gorman’s 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning blog.

3)   Visit sites that allow users to provide feedback about apps as well as rank apps, including App Annie and iPhone Application List.

If you want even more information, visit Web sites like Macdonald Tech for Teachers and you will easily fill up your afternoon surfing the web to explore the learning potential of iPads in the classroom. The most important ingredient to successful use of any technology tool is the patience, persistence, and creativity of the teacher!

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