Thursday, July 29, 2010

The iPad so far, so good.

It's interesting to hear the response to the iPad from people outside the field of education, as in the CEO of a large financial institution who hasn't touch his computer since he got his hands on an iPad, for work, over a month ago.

Personally I found the switch from laptop to iPad an easy adjustment to make.  Yes, it helps to know a few of the tricks and tips but that's true of any computer.  You'll see some of those tips listed in previous posts.  What I like best about it is the portability, combined with long battery life.  I envision students finding it to be a perfect tool as they use it for:

- reference
- multiple elegantly displayed news sources
- a wide range of science and math applications
- many options for reading books and viewing videos
- productivity tools like Dropbox, SoundPaper, Audiotorium, Dragon Dictation, Instapaper
- blogging
- interacting on educational and social networks
- taking notes in classes and meetings using voice recording apps and typing
- sharing resources and collaborating

Perhaps the next generation of students will avoid chronic back problems brought on by lugging pounds/kilos of textbooks around in their backpacks.  Teachers may engage students more easily by having them create their own online 'textbooks' of resources including videos and databases.  And think of the possibilities for differentiated learning when every student is able to quickly find resources at their own reading levels.

I think the iPad can play a key role in the classroom, a classroom where the teacher works to ignite a passion for learning in students and acts as a guide and mentor in moving them along a learning continuum.  One example of a teacher who embraces this kind of classroom environment is Shelly Blake-Plock.

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