Saturday, November 5, 2011

iPads in the classroom

More than once I have expressed my cynicism about the hype surrounding iPads in the classroom. Make no mistake, I really would like to have my own iPad to play with, but observing iPad users (in the education environment at least) so far as really shown me that they are proving the adage, 'using new technologies to teach the same old way'.

I recently attended a demonstration where a technology teacher was showing how he was using the iPad to transform his teaching. He was using the camera on the iPad 2 to photograph his students working on their projects, then uploading their photographs in slideshow or video format to Facebook. Whilst I have no doubt that the students enjoyed seeing their work online, I can do the same with my mobile phone, and for a great deal cheaper. Yes, there are people using the iPad to show videos and animations, but again, it's nothing that we aren't already doing with existing technologies.

So, it was a relief to read Johnston and Stoll's article, 'It's the pedagogy, stupid...' about iPads in in eLearn Magazine. Whilst the first part of the article makes similar (but much more coherent) comments about the iPad to those I have made, in the second part they outline some interesting and innovative ideas which suggest that, while the transformation won't be as immediate or as universal as the hype will have us believe, iPads and other tablets will be disruptive technologies in the classroom. Well worth a read.

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