Schools across the country are now investing in IPads for instructional use in classrooms. The IPad is an amazing device and to be able to implement these on a large scale for education purposes is quite a concept. But will these cool gadgets work out in the classroom?
Initially, IPads could be an ideal item to use in education because they can completely replace the use of textbooks. Textbooks are expensive and heavy and needed for each subject. With an IPad, teachers can download the eBooks onto their Ipad and then download the same book onto each of the students’ IPads. A student could have one IPad with all the textbooks for each of his/her subjects. So schools can really only pay for a textbook once and use it for the entire class. The IPad also has interactive games and applications that can be efficiently used to teach students. Keeping students interacting with the information is also advantageous to learning as opposed to the typical textbook, notebook and blackboard lecture style of learning. Students also think it is neat to be using a computer that fits in their hands during class which can hold everything from homework assignments and lesson plans to a syllabus and text books. They could even take notes on the IPad. There are likely even future technological advances with IPads that may further improve education.
There are some setbacks that come along with the IPad. The price is a bit ridiculous and Apple typically does not budge pricewise when purchasing their products, even when buying in bulk. Considering they can replace multiple numbers of expensive textbooks, the price may be reasonable depending on what the charge is for each electronic textbook copy.
Another flaw that can be said about any piece of technology in the market today is its terrible quality. Whether it is an IPad or a dishwasher, products have constantly been decreasing in quality. This brings to question the IPad, which may be dropped by a 2nd grader multiple times a week. Would an IPad stand up to the potential damage that it could be exposed to in a lower grade classroom setting? Replacing IPads often would likely be a drain on a school district's bank account. Stealing of IPads could also become a problem. It is unlikely that a school, except for a college or university, could require that a student be required to purchase an IPad.
I have heard that Apple, the manufacturer of the IPad, is extremely unreliable when it comes to replacing their products, when found to be faulty. The internal battery is a flaw because the entire system must be replaced when it no longer holds a charge. Also, in general the screen and structure of an IPad will usually not survive a drop from the hands of a 3rd grader onto a tile floor. Even with a warranty, it is likely that when you call up Apple for a replacement, they will just explain that it was user error and tell you to buy a new one. If they were cheaper and could more easly be fixed by the schools IT guy, it might be a different story. If the IPads were built to a high military spec, like a military grade cell phone, that can practically be dropped from 3 stories and be fine, the IPad would be great for educational purposes in schools.
In all, the IPad may prove to be to a milestone in bringing cheap and efficient technology into the education field. If we could only figure out a way to make the IPad strong enough to handle grade school students across the country, then it would be a valuable option for educating more people at lower prices.