Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Integration of iPads into K to 12 Classrooms

By Sean Scarpiello

Recently, I read an article about how Princeton Day School, a private school for students in Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12, has slowly begun integrating iPads into their classrooms. While the school has not gone completely digital, the program has seen much success in the grades that are based on the iPads. Therefore, the school plans on extending the program to further digitize even more classes in future. Compared to traditional classes, the program has many advantages for school administration, teachers and students.

In the long run, integrating iPads into every classroom will save schools a lot of money. While the initial cost of buying iPads for every student in the class is great, the school will be able to save money over the following years. This is because the cost of eBooks is much lower than traditional, heavy textbooks. Also, unlike regular textbooks, eBooks do not need to be replaced every few years because they do not become outdated or fall apart. Plus, iPads offer many applications, designed specifically for the classroom, at low or no cost. With these applications, students can learn through the use of interactive worksheets, challenging games, and other options that are much more stimulating than boring, black and white worksheets. Therefore, students will look forward to learning, as they want to gain more points in a computer based grammar game or solve a math puzzle on their iPad.

This technology also offers many advantages to teachers. iPads can be used to give daily updates to students, as well as make any changes to the course syllabi. The integration of iPads allows for students to work on their assignments anywhere and turn them into their teachers instantly. Applications available for teachers on these devices allow teachers to track where students are struggling, so they can address certain problem areas in the class material. This allows each student’s education to be further individualized to meet their needs and focus on the areas where they struggle which means students will further benefit from this technology.

As students eventually graduate to work in the real world, they too will need to integrate to the technology that we use in hospitals, small businesses, banks, laboratories, and in many other occupational fields. Therefore, being exposed to technology early on in their education means that they can pick up and learn to integrate into the systems used in the workplace extremely easily. Last year, when I had the opportunity to use an iPad in my Organic Chemistry class, we had the ability to use an annotation function on our iPads to write out lab reports simply by speaking into a microphone which typed up the report for us. This technology is not dissimilar to the annotation tools doctors, nurses, and many other employees use daily in the workforce. Further, there are other applications which allow students to surpass today’s employees in many other areas in technology. Many students now are learning to make movies and animations to present in class as a project. In the real world, many of today’s employees will struggle to try and create this type of media. Therefore, those who can build an animation or movie to use in a work presentation can excel in the workplace.

Overall, while the initial price tag of iPads as a learning technology in schools may seem expensive, schools will save in the long term. Beyond the savings on eBooks and education applications, teachers and students will benefit from these technologies in many ways. In all, these sorts of programs where schools are digitizing their classrooms with iPads are sure to improve the experience of learning for many students while remaining at a low cost for schools.


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