Upon doing research for Ed. Tech. class, I have come to decide that iPads for the classroom would be useful in many ways. It would be very helpful if each child had his/her own iPad but a lot of the time it is not that easy or inexpensive. If each child is unable to have an iPad, then they would be a great use for centres instead of a main classroom activity. But for the rest of the discussion, I will be referring to iPads as if every child had one.
The reason each child would need to have one is because I am talking about Apps in particular and three apps that can help children with their learning. And I am talking about middle school age for these apps. Since I really enjoy math I have chosen three math apps that seem like they would be fantastic to help students grasp abstract ideas and formulas. The first app is Graphbook that presents graphs in 2D, 3D or 4D to help the student understand fully the different types of graphs and how to use them. The second app is one called Math Ref. This app is a reference app where the student can look up formulas and concepts to help remember and understand the material ask of them in class. This would be a great app for homework, in case the student forgot a formula or how to implement the formula. Polldaddy is the final app on my math app list to discuss. It is an app that helps to formulate surveys and polls. It is nice that it is on the iPad, which is portable, so that the students can walk around the school, schoolyard or even take it home with them and enter in the data. The app would them further the results in presenting it in many different forms such as graphs, charts or just plain word explanations.
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I would use an iPad in class (and the students would have theirs too) and project the work from the iPad onto the projector or SMARTboard. The iPad would be great to just carry around and have your lesson plan on their too! With the iPads, you could get the students iPad hooked up too and project their work or ideas onto the board. For this I would need iPads and a projector/SMARTboard. I enjoy using iPads and think that they would come in handy in a many different varieties and subjects in the classroom.
I recall only just a few years ago - the big thing on the EdTech horizon was IWBs - but now it's mobile devices. I think back to a Craftsman commercial that Sear's put out a few years ago - their mantra was "Your in good hands." - speaking of their tools. In many ways the iPad or anything apps (sub-tool) effectiveness relies firmly in the hands of the one holding it. If you do a good job helping your students see how the tool can be used in various ways- helping them use technology as a means - not an end - they'll go beyond what you have to share. I am sort of interested to know what a 4D graph looks like. I'll have to look that one up.
Dave, I agree that the important part of teaching students to use technology is that it is a means to an end, not the end itself. Technology for technology's sake is not what is going to push our students to a higher level. Students learn best when technology is embedded into their content standards and not just something that is added on later. I have a class set of iPads to use in my library. They are new to me this year so I'm still learning the best ways to use them. However, so far they have been a great way for students to research topics and highlight their reasearch.
I agree with Dave and we the teacher need to make sure we are teaching them the correct way to use the device. I am starting to flip my classroom and would love some iPads in the classroom for centers or even for students to re watch the videos again in class if they had a hard time on a concept.