Monday, May 3, 2010

iPad in My Classroom

I used my iPad in the classroom today for the first time. I wasn't able to do too much with it, but here are some of the things I really enjoyd about it and what I think I could do with it in the future.

For the most part, I was able to use it for email and attendance without any problem. I have to use the 3G because the school will not allow teachers access to the WiFi that is in parts of the building. No reason has been given to us, we are just not allowed to use it. It was nice to walk around the room and take attendance desk to desk and talk tot he students. I think little things like that can save some time and allow me the walk around the room and make sure the kids are getting ready for the rest of the class period. Since out attendance is web based, it was easy to log on and mark the students absent if they were not here. My iPad moved much faster than the Dell Desktop. I jumped right on the web and had attendance taken in half the time of using the school computer. That is a huge bonus.

There were a few instances that students needed copies of documents that they missed and I was able to use DropBbox and my email to send them the documents they needed for later in the day. Sometimes I find myself waiting for emails from other teachers or students regarding projects and I run back to the computer when the email tone goes off. With the iPad, I can easily check my school email on another Safari page without a problem. I can then use that to respond to teachers or students on the spot while keeping a close eye on the students around me as I stroll around the class.

Many people asked me what my favorite app for the iPad has been so far. I would have to say Dropbox. The reason this is my favorite app, is because it allows me access to all of my documents when I want them. There is nothing worse than when a student wants to talk about a handout and I don't have one on hand to explain what I was thinking. Dropbox allows me to have all of my documents right away. I don't need to go back to the desktop of the filing cabinet. I can even send the kids a digital copy if they want an extra just in case. That type of convenience is what I love about the iPad.

Some students said that it is just a big iPod Touch. Yes, it can be if that is how you use it. I see it as so much more. I have been using my iPhone to keep all of my lesson plans on. I use a program called Planbook that allows me to create lessons and then sink them up to my iCal. It has been great to use. It allows me to be free of writing everything out by hand and trying to decipher all of my notes for the next year. Now, I can just set the start date for the next school year and all of my lessons will shift to that new date. No longer do I have to go through lesson plan after lesson plan. I also save the weeks worth of work as a PDF and post it on my school web-page for students and parents to download. It allows me to bring all of my lessons onto one color coded page. I don't have to search for the lesson plan for each class because they are all in one spot that I can then share with any student I want.

A dream class would be 35 16G iPads with WiFi. This would allow all of the students the ability to clearly see and type responses to blog posts or even create blog posts to share with the world. Tweets, texts, files, videos, etc could all be shared through the WiFi network and a piece of paper would never have to exchange hands. The future is now. Besides price (Which I understand is the biggest issue in education and everywhere else), there really is no reason why entire classes, at least at the HS level, could not completely function on iPads. In English, just about all of the texts we use can be accessed for free or at a small price through the iBook Store. It seems like a simple step to take instead of spending tens of thousands on brand new textbooks.

I feel confident that I could run my classes effectively and have even more students engaged in learning if I had a full set of these in the room. I would no longer be chained to the computer lab sign up sheet. My lessons would be able to flow freely to my students and back to me without all of the walls that separate the free flow of information. If anyone knows Steve Jobs, tell him I'm on board to move education in the right direction if he can help me foot the bill. :-)



20 comments:

  1. It looks like your first classroom experience with the iPad was positive.

    Not having an opportunity to put my hands on one yet; what are your thoughts regarding its potential for students to compose cloud-based media: slideshows, video editing, Animoto, Glogster, etc?

    Couldn't a 1:1 netbook environment provide students with much the same functionality as iPads, at a significantly cheaper expense?

    Lastly, what are your thoughts about the iPad's keyboard? The NYT's reviewer didn't think highly of it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.

    Respectfully,
    Charles Herzog
    @PJ_Vermont

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  2. 35 iPads would cost $17,500, roughly. I wonder whether there are any foundations in your area that would be interested in investing that amount of money to test your theory. Your central administration should have a fund raising office and may have a recommendation for where to apply for grant money for a technology action research project like this. I hope you find the $$. Good luck. I can't wait until my piggy bank has enough money in it to buy one for myself.

    Best,
    Joan

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  3. I suspected they would be wonderful, but it is great to read all these details. I am also interested in the keyboard issue.

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  4. Interesting results. There is some promise with this
    1. Students can have all of their books with them at all times without a lugging around a heavy backpack.
    2. Schools could do away with desktop PCs and simply provide docking stations in situations where students require keyboard/mouse functionality.

    The big question is if this makes a student's life easier? Forcing items on students typically doesn't work, but if it makes things easier and the students think it is cool, then we have a winner.

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  5. Sounds great and the more apps that are developed, the more powerful it will become. Thanks to you, I have used DropBox extensively and it is sensational.

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  6. I finally had a chance to get on here and read about your first day with the iPad! LOVE it! You made some good points that I hadn't thought of including the Planbook app that I wasn't aware of. What a time saver!

    I also love the idea that this could replace the heavy, costly, ever-changing textbooks. Fantastic idea :) Hopefully you can convince someone that the $17,500 estimated cost (from a comment above) would easily replace the 3, 4, 5 or 6 books needed for an average English class.

    So excited for you! Good luck convincing the powers that be (whether that be Steve Jobs, parent council or your superintendent) that this would be a worthwhile investment!

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  7. I am loving my iPad for classroom use too. In the computer lab I can use an ARD app and see all of my students computer screens simultaneously while I walk around the room. I can even take control of their screens remotely from the iPad to help them with anything. So cool! I am loving the iPad for the elementary classroom, so many great applications available!
    To answer a question above. Glogster doesn't work on the iPad but Animoto does (online or through the free app).

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  8. I am loving my iPad for classroom use too. In the computer lab I can use an ARD app and see all of my students computer screens simultaneously while I walk around the room. I can even take control of their screens remotely from the iPad to help them with anything. So cool! I am loving the iPad for the elementary classroom, so many great applications available!
    To answer a question above. Glogster doesn't work on the iPad but Animoto does (online or through the free app).

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  9. Greetings, My name is Allan and I am a grad student attending Drexel University. Currently I am in the initial phase for starting a Action Research Project. Topic Apple Ipad and how educators are using this device in the classroom and staff development training. I would be interested in communicating with anyone from within the academic world who is using the Ipad.
    Thank you
    Allan
    Apcman1@mac.com

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  10. Great to hear that it is going well. We are exploring this very issue in depth at www.ededco.com/blog! Stop by and see what we think works for the classroom in terms of the iPad!

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  11. I couldn't find a decent iPad app for all-in-one course management, so I made one. Teacher's Attaché allows one-touch attendance recording, grading support, and more.

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  12. I use iPads with infants and toddlers with disabilities and I started with an iTouch but it was no big enough for the little fingers. www.babieswithipads.blogspot.com
    Bridget

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  13. I am an Instructional Technology Specialist and our schools are purchasing iPads in lieu of netbooks, kindles, etc. because of their versatility. Anything a netbook or Kindle can do, the iPad can do, and more. It just takes a little time to do the research. One massive difference I have noticed is in the motivation of the students. With this mobile device, students are now more in tune with their learning and have taken their education to a higher level. We are excited about using the iPads, teachers and students a like.

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  15. My school will be going to iPads next year. All students in gradesk-12 will be getting an iPad to use in the classroom. Thank you foursome wonderful ideas. Iespecially like the plan book app. Any other recommend apps would be great!

    Tom L.

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  16. My sons' school is moving to ebooks for all textbooks. None of their ebooks work on my ipad. Just something to keep in mind. Since ipads don't have Flash, some things just don't work on them. Wish they did though!

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  17. Congratulations! I am a teacher too, and I use my iPad during faculty meetings. I use the Ghostwriter Notes app to jot down notes. Pretty cool app!

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  18. I think this article will have better served its audience with the HOW of using the ipad specifically for learning disabled students. There will always be early adopters of technology so this didn't sway me in any way to run out to purchase the ipad but if the article included how this technology helped level the playing field for learning disabled students.
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  19. Hi! Just wanted to get your opinion on PlanBook Touch. Recently bought an iPad and as a music teacher, it's been invaluable. Reading the reviews of the app, it sounds like it needs work. Is it a stable app?

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