Tuesday, July 9, 2013

iPads in Classrooms

iPad technology has greatly changed the way children learn within the last decade. Children more than ever are growing up in a technology savvy world and are surrounded by new media platforms. Both the Prince William County Public School District (PWCS) in Virginia and the Los Angeles, CA Unified School District (LASUD) have introduced iPads into the classroom. There is a growing concern among parents that iPads might lead to violence and a decrease in communication & social skills. However, the engaging environment and leveraging technology greatly outweighs the concerns.

Bel Air Elementary located in PWCS purchased iPads through a school fundraiser. They also have a mobile lab in the school where teachers can check out 30 iPads to conduct classroom activities on the mobile devices. Janet Hoover, an Intellectual Disabilities Teacher at Bel Air Elementary, said that she can tell through the student’s facial expression and emotions that the student enjoys using the iPads (personal communication, June 23, 2013). She believes that it helps students remain technology savvy and practice classroom material. Technology is at the student’s fingertips and students are learning at a faster pace. The material is fun, but covertly hidden to challenge children to quickly gain the knowledge and move to the next assignment or exercise.
On the contrary, Los Angeles Unified School District (LASUD) made a $30 million deal with Apple to provide each student with an iPad in the classroom. LASUD will provide students with an iPad that has the Pearson Common Core System of Courses. The system helps teachers prepare and implement classroom activities. The Pearson Common Core System allows teachers to choose lessons that are taught for each grade level. A fun app that enhances students reading allows a student to read, record, and play it back to hear themselves read on the recording. Textbooks are constantly being updated and revised for the classroom. The introduction of an iPad allows accessibility and portability making it easier for students.
There is a place for everything. iPads are not a babysitter and should not replace the teacher. It is important for teachers to use the iPads as a piece of the instruction plan. iPads should enhance the students learning process. An article written by Matt Rothenberg highlighted the concerns on disappearing social skills in a tech savvy world. Rothenberg cited that, “Through human contact, children learn the art of covert messages in their speech and actions” (Rothenberg, 2011). Children more than ever are surrounded by technology, thus reducing face-to face interaction.

Some parents voiced a concern that iPads might introduce violence into the classroom via video games. Ms. Hoover insists that the introduction of violence via video games would not occur in Prince William County and is unlikely to occur in another school district. At Bel Air Elementary School teachers are unable to download apps to the iPad. There is a designated person in charge of downloading apps and reviewing apps on each iPad. Furthermore, every app downloaded costs money and the school is notified when a purchase is made.  
It is imperative that children take the knowledge gained within the classroom and apply it to the outside world. PWCS and LASUD were proactive and leveraged the latest technology for students. If educators are aware of the concerns surrounding technology in classrooms then they can combat the problem by using the iPads effectively. iPads provide a variety of learning tools and keep students interested.
Work Cited
Rothenberg, R. (2011) Disappearing Social Skills in the Techno Savvy World. Retrieved from https://www.oaklandcc.edu/

No comments:

Post a Comment