Written by Cheryl Luzet, a Clonlara School guest blogger (***Clonlara School does not endorse or recommend any product/service in connection with this author***)
iPad technology is ideal for use in education: the devices are portable enough to transport easily, and load quickly. Students bringing their iPads into lessons can use them to take notes, post their homework and for internet research. However, when all students in a class are given an iPad, the teacher can make use of the technology to create an interactive lesson that is engaging and memorable.
The device is very inclusive: the touch screen of iPads allows greater accessibility than any other computer device. They make ideal learning tools for students who learn with their hands, called kinaesthetic learners, who are able to manipulate and explore objects with the touch screen technology. This type of learner struggles to sit quietly and listen, meaning that they are often not well-catered for in the traditional classroom environment. Even students with limited fine motor skills can make use of the educational apps, navigating using their hands.
iPads are inspiring creativity in classrooms all over the world. Students can make a video, use an app to write a song or draw a picture without any paper or equipment. Homework can be submitted, and corrected, at a much faster rate. Work completed individually in class can be shown to other students on an interactive whiteboard at the click of a button. Students can engage in live discussions at home with their classmates: this is ideal for including the students who may be too nervous to speak in class.
Anne Laure Bazin is a teacher at the state high school Mounts Bay Academy School in Cornwall, in the UK. At her school, every teacher, teaching assistant and pupil are given a free iPad for use at home, or at school. Since the iPads were made available, she says, the way she teaches has changed:
“The iPads really help with communication. Students now email me questions late at night and I’m able to reply to them. In class, we can post one child’s work on the interactive whiteboard and discuss it. The iPad allows me to access the school’s attendance database so I can see straight away which students are in that day, and which room I can find them in.
“In class, the students have the whole world at their fingertips. A dictionary is a click away. It’s great for cultural awareness as they can research information on special days and holidays in other countries.
“Having the iPads has completely changed the way they work at home. Now I ask them to record themselves speaking in French and I can check their pronunciation. The lessons are more interactive and the students are really enjoying the experience. I don’t think the novelty will ever wear off.”
Breakage and loss can be a problem; students have to wait several weeks for a replacement after a breakdown and in every class there is often a handful of students who have to share an iPad as a result.
However, even in Anne Laure’s school, the iPad hasn’t replaced traditional teaching methods entirely. The students are still given textbooks and exercise books to write in: one of the major concerns for parents when the iPads were introduced was that students would lose the habit of handwriting.
This is a guest blog by BBC Active, who make lessons more enjoyable and engaging with high quality educational television programs from the BBC.