iPads in the classroom

This semester I have been working with iPads in my childhood education class. They are our textbook as well as out main material for teaching. Its been very interesting being in a technology based english class, as well as a technology based education class at the same time. Throughout the semester I have found myself comparing the classes and how technology influences education.

Technology has made a huge impact on how classrooms run and how teachers teach. iPads have made their way into classrooms as a teaching/ learning tool. They are often advertised that they will lead to hands on and individualized education that children need to be successful in life. Are these devices truly as revolutionary as they seem to be? As I researched the topic, and work with the device, the positive impacts were are abundance, but behind all the good there is always the bad and questions still arise about their impact on a classroom.

Students learn best though experience and an iPad can provide just that. Through applications and web access, students can easily reach beyond the classroom and learns “hands on”though these apps. As I learn about this “hands on” experience it brings up the question, is it really hands on experience? iPads easily bring “experience” into a classroom though applications and simulations, but is it true hands on experience? One main point focused on throughout this class is that things are learned best through doing them and that is also a main point in my education classes this semester. iPads are one of the closest things to “hands on experience” students can get to many things, but will this cause teachers to forget the that real experiences are just as important? Even though the iPad does engage students and assists them in their education, its not the same as learning about science by going outside, or math with using hands on manipulatives. Being able to touch and manipulate a material allows for full understanding. iPads are extremely new to classrooms around the U.S. and even though the impact overall is positive, I am curious to watch the product and see how it impacts true experiential learning over time.

Besides experiential learning, another positive impact of the iPad that is widely discussed is that it is engaging and keeps students on task though individualized education. Teachers can use iPads to create individualized lessons for each student. This allows for the students to progress at their own pace through the applications the teachers assign them. As I have been working with iPads one large issue seems to have arisen dealing with engagement; students emily get distracted by the device infant of them. When I am working in classrooms, I am the only one with an iPad, usually reading an e book from it to the students. As I read I constantly watch the students get antsy and frustrated because I am reading off an iPad. Since there is a new device in font of them, they want to play with it; one common question I get while reading to students is “can i touch it?” putting me in the situation of deciding if I should stray away form the book to appease the students or keep going and hope that they regain focus. While the students are extremely interested in the devise, it is difficult to see the positive impact of it when it seems more distracting when the device is shared and in the teachers control. Students stay engaged while working on their own iPad because they are playing “games” to enhance their learning experience. Since iPads are new to classroom, students tend to stay on task and work with the device as told. Another thing I wonder is as students become more familiar with the devices, will it cause them to stray from their tasks and use it for its many other purposes, such as exploring the internet?

Overall im extremely curious to see how iPads impact the education system over the next few years and how they will impact my experience throughout college.


**I apologize for the lack of media in the post, the downloader kept giving me an error message every time I tried to add a picture.


Learning Through Experience

Awhile back I came across a Tedx Talk by Logan LaPlante and his educational experience. He goes through schooling in which he calls “hack school”. He learns what he is interested in, still focusing on the core subject and on his greatest goal in life… to be happy.

After watching this talk, I begin to think about my future. I am a childhood/special education major and am working toward being a reading specialist. Common Core Curriculum has recently been implemented into public school systems through out the U.S., changing the way teachers teach and how schools run. I have witnessed students struggle though this sudden change. Common Core is based on standardized tests to measure how students have improved throughout the year and how well teachers taught their students. I have seen this curriculum put immense amounts of stress on teachers and especially children. In todays society children are put under too much stress. There are 8 year old children loosing sleep over how well they will do on their ELA and math standardized test, instead of thinking about kid stuff, like what games they want to play tomorrow or if their friend will go on a bike ride with them. I believe common core is a good idea and has good motives. It is a step in the right direction for our education system, but it was implemented too quickly with little training to teachers. This has led teachers to teach to the test, so that their students can pass the tests and move onto the text grade. There are better ways to run education besides forcing testing on students. We have to remember kids are kids. During the early years of education, socialization is just as important as the content learned and this needs to be recognized. Children learn best through experience. Hands on learning can bring both socialization and content learning into a classroom. Students can work together to solve problems and create projects in order to learn the curriculum, as well as learn how to socialize with their peers.

One of Thoreau’s main points in the novel “Walden” is that learning through experience is more effective than traditional schooling. I aim to make my classroom as close to a hands on learning experience as possible for the most effective education. I am a strong believer in the importance of keeping creativity in the classroom and learning from hands on experience. Logan speaks about this in his talk, saying his happiness is most important to him and when he learns what he enjoys though experience, he is happy. I see my classroom as a place of creativity and a place of comfort for children. When you think back to your early years of school, you don’t remember what you learned, you remember the experiences you had. I want my students to look back on their life, and remember my classroom as being a comfortable place, where they had fun as they learned. I want my students to be excited about learning.