Although it is often joked that children and teenagers know more about technology than their parents do, the same can usually be said about their teachers, too. Many schools struggle to implement new technologies into the classroom and some have archaic computer resources. In recent years, however, Apple has revolutionised the approach to computing with the iPad. The device can be used by all ages, from toddlers to pensioners, and even technophobes have embraced the new tablet technology. With a wide range of apps and an easy to use, accessible interface, teachers are looking at using it in schools for a new, interactive learning experience. But is the device cut out for the classroom environment?
Pro: The Children Can Handle It
The iPad’s touch screen and gesture led interface makes it one of the easiest technologies to use. Even early year primary school children, as well as those who have never used a computer before, will be able to pick up an iPad and start using it after a quick introduction.
Con: The Teachers Might Not Be Able To
Although even the most technology resistant teacher will be able to quickly get to grips with the interface, preparing and delivering lessons may be more difficult. As schools simply cannot afford to have purpose built apps developed for them, there will be a reliance on the existing app market. They may struggle to find apps appropriate for each syllabus and activity, and it may be hard to keep students focused on the lesson.
Pro: They Save More Room Than Battered Textbooks Do
The iPad can serve as a document reader, word processor and graphics tablet. An iPad could replace most of the contents of a student’s schoolbag, as they could do most of their schoolwork on the device. Teachers could load each device with worksheets and reading materials, too, in preparation for each lesson.
Con: They Cost A Lot More Than Battered Textbooks
Even with Apple’s education discount, iPads are very expensive. It would cost thousands to supply one classroom, let alone an entire school. Apple’s app policy is also very inflexible compared to the ‘bulk’ software licenses that schools currently enjoy. Each device may require separate purchases of several apps which, again, could be costly and difficult to manage.
Pro: A Creative Way To Teach The Curriculum
As rigid as the curriculum can be, savvy teachers will be able to implement the iPad in many classroom activities. Animation, drawing, movie-making, sound-editing and camera functions are just some of the many creative ways the iPad could be used during a lesson. It would be a much more interactive and creative way to teach and learn.
Con: Frustrating Compatibility Issues
Apple’s devices cannot use Adobe Flash, and this is particularly problematic for teachers as many existing online education resources that follow the curriculum, like BBC Bitesize, use the software. This could hamper the functionality of the device for many teachers.
Apple’s device has its limitations, but there is certainly many ways it can be used in a classroom environment. The cost of the technology is certainly a big factor and, although it may not yet be a replacement for the trusty pen and paper, it could certainly start being used in a educational context.
This article has been created by World Class Teachers, a top London supply teaching agency.