The author, Ben Johnson, mentions using iPads in both Math and Science classes. His math example describes allowing the students to independently learn through search for the best geometric shape for a deep sea submarine. Mr. Johnson asks what the students can do with iPads that they cannot do with a regular computer or encyclopedia. His answer? “The students can find out the necessary information about how deep is deep, about what kind of pressures exist there, and find out the math necessary to determine the strongest geometric form. They can also collaborate with their peers by walking across the room and showing them their results on the iPad, they can ask the teacher questions through the network, and the students can find, or better yet, create pressure simulations to predict the results. They can check out lectures from experts and professors at iTunes U, and they can share and save what they learned with other students on the network. They can graph their results, sketch a possible example of what a submarine of this form might look like, and then do a Prezi presentation about what they learned.” Not only can the iPad be used in a Math class such as this, but it can be used in all subjects. Students would have the ability to research content for a paper they are being asked to write at the tips of their fingers. They could also take notes on new grammar they have learned using apps that allow them to type and draw. How great would it be to have neatly written notes with added arrows and drawings to further your understanding? Mr. Johnson’s examples of using iPads in the classroom portray the iPads being used in direct instruction, collaborative learning, and independent learning. With such versatile use, why wouldn’t administrators be chomping at the bit to get iPads for their schools?
It is true that an iPad could be thought of as an extrinsic motivator for students. However, Mr. Johnson describes many fantastic uses for the iPads and his examples cause you to think of many different ways that you could use them in your own classroom. With iPads, students are able to enjoy learning through independent instruction (geometry example). They are also able to do projects from home and bring in data through video and pictures (science example). With iPads, students have access to all types of knowledge and they don’t even have to leave their seat. iPads are efficient and they allow students to search for content themselves rather than relying on teachers to give them all of the answers. iPads are a fantastic addition to any classroom and I hope you are able to see the benefits.