iPad: The New Educational Tool

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Nowadays, whether they are in elementary or secondary schools, children are surrounded by technology. They often own expensive products such as iPhones and iPods and, even when they don’t own any, they still know how to use them.

In classrooms, students get bored pretty easily, we always need to be careful not to talk for a too long period, to create fun and educational activities, to move around and so on. When they have an iPad in front of them, they suddenly become very attentive and motivated to complete their work with the tool, which is great.

Why use iPads in schools?

First of all, as an English teacher, I don’t always have my own class and I need to move from one place to another throughout the day. An advantage of having iPads instead of having laptops is that they are a lot lighter, so easier to transport. Also, they have a long battery life, so I don’t have to worry about wires. Plus, they are simple to use and most students already do how they work.

Secondly, instead of being interested of what comes out of the iPad, I can concentrate on what comes in. Let me explain, iPads can record videos and voices. So, when doing an interactive activity, I can put an iPad where each team interacts and record what they say, how they pronounce, etc. That way, I make sure that everyone speaks English and I can note errors that are frequently made.  When doing a presentation, I can record my students and watch over the video at home in order to grade them.

Thirdly, I can have them play educational games with different apps. For example, Miss Spell’s Class is an app that uses words from Dictionary.com that are commonly misspelled. Students have a list of 20 words and need to choose as quickly as possible the words that are spelled correctly and/or incorrectly. It creates a friendly competition in the classroom and the student with the highest score wins. Because it is done individually, I feel like students don’t feel pressured and that they are not scared of making errors even though they still want to win. I like these kinds of games and I consider them useful.

Finally, I hate wasting paper. So, instead of having to make copies for each student, I can have texts and instructions on the iPads so that students can have access to them. That way, I only print out activity sheets and save a lot of paper. In brief, I truly believe that iPads are beneficial not only for students, but for teachers as well.

Warning!

However, iPads are expensive and are not always used to their fullest potential. If we want to integrate this technology into our educational system, teachers must be trained to use it wisely. Otherwise, iPads become simple notebooks that cost a lot more than paper and pencils. In order to learn how to intelligently use iPads, teachers should have access to training sessions and they should try to discover as much as possible by using it, by reading books like iPad in Education for Dummies, and by surfing on the Internet on websites that exist to help teachers, such as iPads in Education.

Numerous apps are available on this tool. Children that don’t even go to school yet benefit from iPads thanks to applications that help them learn to count, to recognize different shapes, to say the alphabet, to listen to stories, etc. Moreover, they have fun doing so. It’s great!

To conclude, I am a fan of Apple products. I think they are easy to use and full of interesting tools. However, like my classmate points out, their products evolve very rapidly, new versions come out almost every year. It makes it difficult to stay updated and products become easily outdated. A lot of money is needed to bring iPads into our students’ classrooms, but is it worth it? Will it be used during a long period or only for a couple of years? These are important questions to ask ourselves before spending an important amount of money in this useful technology.

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