Gizmodo recently penned a blog post about Why iPads Aren’t Ready For Classrooms…Yet, and I have to say, I agree with them. They are great machines – very intuitive -but the 1st generation of the iPad just isn’t there yet.
Let me preface this post a bit by saying that I love technology and am a serious gadget hound. I believe that technology is our future and we wouldn’t be where we are today without it. I also believe that students today need to be engaged in the classroom (as they always have, obviously), and as technology becomes ever more present in the students’ every day lives, so too does technology need to be ever more present in the classrooms.
However, adding technology to the classroom just for the sake of adding it is a poorly thought-out decision. There are so many factors to consider. How much training will be required for the teachers to feel competent on the technology? How much will the technology actually be used in the classroom? Will the teachers ACTUALLY want to use it? How much does the technology cost? Will we pass that cost on to the parents of the students in some kind of subsidized way? What about theft? Updates? Repair? Etc etc etc…
I applaud school districts for making attempts at integrating the technology that students are familiar with in the classroom. I think it is a step in the right direction. But, as my wife will tell you and I agree, nothing beats a thought-out lesson plan that engages the students in conversation and gets them excited about the CONTENT, not just the way it is presented.
If I were to integrate any technology in the classroom it would be to give every student the ability to use a laptop or netbook – via a classroom set that is kept at the school. I do feel that eBooks will overtake paper books in the future, but we just aren’t there yet…or are we? I love the idea of getting my kids a Kindle and having all of their books right on the device – after all, once you purchase the book, you can read it on the Kindle device itself, a smartphone (Android, Blackberry and iPhone), laptop/computer (both PC and Mac), etc etc etc. So, you aren’t stuck reading content on a small device. Also, content updates can be done in seconds as opposed to school districts purchasing updated textbooks every 3-5 years.
Couple that with a good note-taking program and you might be glimpsing the future of learning for our youth.
Fellow teachers out there…what do you think?