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Feb 01

Is an Apple iPad in my future?

One of the blogs I follow is the Get Schooled blog written by Maureen Downey for the AJC. Today, an entry caught my eye: An Apple for the teacher and every student? It shares information about the State of Georgia considering a partnership with Apple to put an iPad in the hands of middles school students and teachers, mainly to replace textbooks.

As you can imagine, this excited me greatly. I would love to have an iPad (or netbook, laptop, etc.) for each of my students.  For a long time, I have dreamt of going completely paperless in my classroom, and I think this would be the final step to get there.  There are so many things I could do with iPads everyday. Now I do not think that they are necessary, and I know I can teach engaging lessons without them, but wouldn’t it be nice to have them? (I also realize that due to the cost this is very unlikely to actually happen.)

I could not resist leaving a comment on the post, especially after reading comments left by other people. Some people are so negative towards middle schoolers and their abilities. It makes me sad. Here is the comment I left:

I think this is a great idea! I am a middle school science teacher, and I use technology in my classroom on a daily basis in some way. However, I wish I could put something in the hands of my students every day. Right now, my students have access to computers individually for class on about a weekly basis. What would be great about iPads is that they would be useful not only for textbooks. They would allow students to create media (especially if it is the new generation iPad with rumored cameras), collect data efficiently, and share with a global audience. Not to mention, with an iPad in the hands of each and every one of my students, I could be truly paperless. The paper, toner, and copy maintenance costs should also be considered. Plus, the information in textbooks change at a much faster rate than they can be published and updated. This is something that can be limited with electronic textbooks.If it is not an iPad, it will only be a matter of time before our students traditional textbooks are traded for some form of an electronic version.

My students currently each have their own online blog portfolio. The amount of reflection and interaction as a result of these blogs has been amazing. When we use laptops, students are resourceful if a computer needs charging. They are careful with the machines and treat them well. I have faith that students would be careful if entrusted with iPads. I can only imagine what my students could create and the global interactions we could have if we all had access to technology on a daily basis.

Our kids are amazing. They can do amazing things. Please believe in them. I do.

If you get a chance, check out the post and the comments. I would be very interested to hear what you think about the entire debate.

What are your thoughts on iPads or other netbooks/laptops/tablets in the hands of every student?

2 comments

  1. Kay McGriff

    I’m with you. In our school of about 900 7th and 8th graders, we have two full computer labs and three mobile labs. I could use the computers everyday in my language arts class. I am moving to having more and more of my students’ work submitted on their blogs to encourage interaction and give a wider (worldwide) audience. It also gives parents a window into my classroom. Right now I’m threatening to bring in log chains to keep the mobile lab permanently in my room. And for the most part, the students treat the equipment well. It’s a matter of setting clear expectations and reinforcing them as necessary. In fact, my students treat the computers better than adults who abused them over the summer.

    1. Janelle

      Well said! We have around 1,100 students with three computer labs, four wireless carts with 15 laptops each, and a bank of computers in our media center. It’s great that we have so much, but we also have a large number of teachers who are tech oriented. That means it’s still difficult to book time. I am excited about how readily our teachers embrace technology, though!

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