I am a grad student in a technology innovations course.  I am currently researching case studies about the effectiveness of using iPads in the classroom.  Do you use iPads in your classroom?  What are the benefits?  What are the drawbacks?  Please share your experiences and/or resources you know of about iPads in the classroom.  Thanks!

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Hi Mollie,

Although I don't work in a classroom anymore, I've been interested in the use of iPads.  I found this article this other day that links to some information about studies related to the use of iPads.  Perhaps this will be a place to start:

http://www.onlineuniversities.com/18-enlightening-ipad-experiments-...

I'm also interested in ways that iPads can be used in the classroom - I found this great resource which lists good apps for each subject! by Brad Wilson - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en_US&key=0AvOVwwW-y...

I like that this list makes connections to Bloom's Taxonomy.  That relationship is a good way for teachers to start to identify the apps that will support student learning.

Yeah, that's what I love about it - you can really see what the true benefit of the app is, not just a novelty factor! I was on a Education Week webinar about Tech Integration and I loved the idea of identifying the true benefit to a specific site/app or technology - "What's better about it? How well does it map to the experiences I want my students to have? How well does it connect to the way I think is best to teach this?" 

Mark Hofer's wiki sets up a taxonomy of activity types and shows how they can be matched to the options for ed tech - http://activitytypes.wmwikis.net/Mathematics

Here's another nicely presented way of looking at how we choose apps for students.

http://appsineducation.blogspot.com/2012/03/early-childhood-educati...

I like the categories presented here: instructive apps, manipulable apps, constructive apps.

We have been experimenting with Android tablets in our charter high school. So, not exactly the same scenario as iPads but awfully close. We started this program about 2 years ago and we are just starting to get a good sense of some general results. They're not as encouraging as I had hoped.

I could go on at great length about the overall experience but we haven't really cross-checked the anecdotal results with data yet. That's probably coming at the end of this year. In general my personal feelings (which have changed substantially during this period) are that the general approach that tends to develop - that the tablet gives you access to specialized apps and that this is primarily what one is using it for - is inherently kind of gimmicky and one-dimensional and it runs out of steam rather quickly.

My vision of the goals of this program have now evolved to a question of how the tablet/mobile platform gives the student access that they would not otherwise have. It becomes more of a question of how to modify curriculum to adapt to this new level of access. In this model, the devices have to go home with the student or they miss the primary benefit of enhanced access. Gimmicky apps hardly even enter into the equation for the most part. We're talking about a full-scale virtualization of the classroom in which the tablets are merely one element of the ubiquitous access model. 

Again, that's just my newly developed vision based on our experiences. I have yet to succeed in implementing such a shift, even on a pilot scale. The first step is to digitize the bulk of the content and the onus there is on the teacher. It's hard to find a teacher that's willing to shoulder the front-loaded work to make this testable.

But I'm trying!

I allow my third grade students to use my personal iPad in my classroom.  I think it is very beneficial especially to my below average readers.  There are a few apps I currently am allowing my students to use which include "Simplex Spelling" created as a way to teach phonics skills where the students have their own account and it scaffolds as they make it progress through the phonics lessons. Another game similar to that but for math is "Splash Math" and my third graders really enjoy this because it's set up in a way where the students have their own account and they earn points as they go through the different levels which they use to play a fun game after so many points. I can also set it up where I can choose the skill they will work on which they might have struggled with during a lesson.  There are many more great apps but what I find difficult is the time to allow my students to use the iPad.  I have formulated a schedule which kind of helps but a lot of times the students fail to go when they are supposed to which makes it difficult to stay on schedule.  I would love to have 20 more iPads in my classroom.  I think if I had more I could use them much more effectively than I am now!  I do highly recommend them though and am excited for the day when every classroom will have these kinds of resources readily available.

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