Saturday, April 19, 2014

Teaching and Learning with iPads, Ready or Not?



Murray, O., & Olcese, N. (2011). Teaching and Learning with iPads, Ready or Not?. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(6), 42-48. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0540-6

iPads in the Classroom, Are We Ready?

This article focuses on iPads and their influence on the learning environment. It begins by explaining how amazingly successful the iPad was when it was first introduced, selling over 3 million units. Likely, this was attributed partially to the 250,000 applications available for the iPads and the common interface to the iPods and iPhones that had also received quite a lot of success on their own before the iPad. The real question the authors were asking as they wrote this article was, “whether or not the iPad and its software environment allow users to do things in educational settings that they could not otherwise do.” (Murray 43) This was with the understanding that most technologies that do show this capability tend to last longer than the typical current tech fad.

The authors analyzed many apps available for the iPad and categorized them based on educational use and whether they fostered collaboration or not. They tested each app and put them into categories and tried to project each app on a screen while it was being run. Their findings were that in answer to their question, the hardware and software of the interface and iPad itself held the most compelling argument for its use in education rather than the apps. There were some apps that were exemplary but overall, the iPad’s capabilities to connect to other devices using Bluetooth and also utilizes social networks and cloud services to transfer information easily. They did highlight some amazing applications they found in the article though. Here is a short list:

Music: 
Leaf Trombone
Ocarina

Science:
Star Walk
G
3D4 Medical Images

Literature:
Shakespeare in Bits
Good Reader

Productivity:
Sundry Notes
SpeedTest X
Google Docs

Math:
OmniGraph Sketcher
Jungle Time

Geography:
Paper Map
National Geographic Bee

Some of these apps are more collaborative in nature than others but overall, “the iPad is pushing the edge of both hardware and software innovations” (Murray 48)

The final word in this article in answer to the authors’ question was that the iPad could have some amazing potential especially in the area of collaboration. They mention that this is a great opportunity but more apps do need to be developed to support modern learning theories.

I think this article is really helpful for me simply because my school has class sets of iPads and we are encouraged to use them regularly. I have struggled to find ways to integrate them and I appreciate the focus in this article on collaboration as a key factor in the successful use of iPads as an educational tool that enhances learning in a way that other technology might not. I am hoping for my final project for this class to be related to iPad use in the art room and I think it would be really interesting to figure out how to use the idea I had for using the free app Brushes in a collaborative manner. That would be really neat I think and would likely hit a chord with many of my students who play on collaborative online environments like Minecraft on a regular basis. I am excited to explore the apps mentioned in the article as well. 


I am so intrigued by iPads and how much potential they have for interacting with the world in a more direct and tangible way than even computers have been able to provide.

3 comments:

Toni Jobes said...

Great article. The effective implementation of iPads within the class setting has been a recurring complaint from teachers. I use an iPad at home but cannot image how districts are expecting teachers to use ONE iPad for a class. You are fortunate to have a class set.
In my ETEC 524 course, we were exposed to various Blooms Taxonomy charts. One of them was on apps. It showed which apps only addressed lower level thinking,which ones focused on application and creativity and so on. I have shared a link to the charts below....
http://langwitches.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Bloom-iPads-Apps.jpg

edtechlead said...

Heather, I just received my brand new iPad Air from my campus last week. This is my first tablet device but not my first iOS device. I look forward to having sometime with my new tablet. One feature I have enjoyed so far is the mobility this allows me in the classroom. I am no longer stationed at my teacher station because I can monitor each students computer through the Lanschool app. My concern now is how will I use my new iPad daily in my classroom to promote student learning.

edtechlead said...

Sorry for the repost. I didn't include my name on the original post.

Heather, I just received my brand new iPad Air from my campus last week. This is my first tablet device but not my first iOS device. I look forward to having sometime with my new tablet. One feature I have enjoyed so far is the mobility this allows me in the classroom. I am no longer stationed at my teacher station because I can monitor each students computer through the Lanschool app. My concern now is how will I use my new iPad daily in my classroom to promote student learning.

Brian CdeBaca

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