IPads in the Classroom

October 25, 2013 | | 2 Comments

By SAM DRAVES

Schools need to add more technology in the education learning process. All around the country, districts have placed iPads in the classroom as an educational tool, so why doesn’t Homer?

Teachers ranging from elementary to the high school level have expressed the improvements the device is making in their students’ education. In an article on apple.com, one teacher stated that it allowed students to choose their learning pace. The teacher admits that she did not know how to incorporate it into learning, but her problem was quickly solved. This school did not use random apps either; they used a rubric with different categories such as quality, relativity to the topic, and its ability to provide the teacher with feedback.

According to apple, the iPad has over ten hours of battery, which would eliminate the need for a plug-in while working. Since this device is electronic, it would slash the amount of paper used in schools. Through iTunesU as well as iTunes there are apps for textbooks, speeches, and more.  The catalog includes over 500,000 free educational audio and video materials said techcrunch.com. Students own devices such as smartphones, iPads, iPods and other tools similar to it, and the district could encourage them to bring it in for themselves. Therefore, the district would not need to supply as many in each room if a student brings his or hers to each class.

Mr. Putney, a Homer High school teacher said, “It would be wise for the district to invest in readers.”

The Homer High School bookkeeper, Mrs. Larson, approved the idea of using iPads. Last year, the high school spent a few thousand dollars on textbooks. Around 150 new textbooks of different varieties were purchased; depending on the type of textbook, the price can range anywhere from $75-350. Since brand new books are very expensive, 175 of the new books are actually used ones purchased through Amazon.com with prices that slash the price dramatically. The condition is fairly exceptional with a shocking price range from $38-80. Yearly, five to eight books are lost and replaced, and to save money, schools often share books with each other based on how many classes of the same subject are offered.

Students in the fifth and sixth grade at West Homer Elementary currently use Apple tablets in their classrooms. When elementary school teacher, Mrs. Putney, was asked if she believed the devices improved the way kids learn, she responded, “Absolutely! IPod use in my classroom has increased motivation and student engagement. The kids love a reason to use the iPods/iPad. If technology is involved they are often more interested and excited in the learning they are doing.”

Many people may argue that such devices are distractions. Books, phones and the use of computers have the potential to be distractions too, yet they are still permitted in classrooms. In the elementary schools, kids sign a contract that has the expectations clearly stated. Mrs. Putney also discussed the consequences for the misuse of the iPads: “Students who use the devices improperly go back to paper/pencil work. Time is precious. If the technology is not being used to enhance learning, increase motivation, and create higher levels of student engagement then they are replaced with more traditional paper/pencil work.” Why keep learning at the current level, when we can go above and beyond?

 

 


Comments



2 Comments so far

  1.    Liz Downing on October 26, 2013 12:41 am

    Sam – great article! We are getting more technology use in our district but you are right, we need more! There is a new committee working on making this a priority. The School Board (I’m VP) will be working with the Alaska Legislature to request technology funding this year. The best way to make that happen is to have students voices be heard. I’d encourage you to write to the Governor and State House and Senate Education Committees. Our Representative, Paul Seaton, is very supportive of techology, too. Let’s make it happen this year!

  2.    Liz Downing on October 26, 2013 12:48 am

    That’s “students’ voices” 🙂

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