IPad Inside the Classroom

What to know the weather in the country you’re studying in world cultures class? There’s an app for that. Want a 3-D view inside the human brain? There’s an app for that, too.

The iPads mean much more than ebooks and lighter backpacks. The devices enhance classroom collaboration and enable students to quickly find up-to-date information on a subject they’re researching. They also function as a student’s academic hub – books, notes, calendars, syllabi, homework, etc. - all the information they need in only one place.

With the tablet devices, teachers are able to customize content for the classroom and students have access to a myriad of learning materials resources, not just textbooks. While the media is filled with writings on the pros and cons of using these devices in the classroom, SMR teachers Theresa Wood, Jason Delucco and Misty Frantz haven’t seen any downside.

“The sheer excitement of having technology in their hands increased their excitement for class,” said Mr. DeLucco. “There have been more benefits than problems with the technology,” he continued. “Mainly for me, the iPads save paper. There’s only one day every two weeks that I have to run copies.”

“This generation of high schoolers has grown up with computers and email and gadgets,” said Mrs. Wood. “Engaging students in the classroom had become more challenging. They’re so used to having everything right now.”

Mr. DeLucco readily concurs: “Students will search for answers immediately on the iPads if a question comes up.”

English teacher Misty Frantz uses the iPads in conjunction with the Apple TV. For a recent writing assignment, students wrote their answers in the Notability app, and then Mrs. Frantz was able to call up students' essays on the screen via the Apple TV.

The iPad is taking the place of textbooks, notebooks, calculators and paper tests. And, sometimes, it may take the place of raising your hand. Students can answer teacher questions on a survey application and watch as results pour in from their classmates. Don’t get the idea that students keep to themselves and keep their heads down during class; there is still much back-and-forth discussion, according to the teachers.

Perhaps the best part of using an iPad, said several students, is that there’s not another textbook to lug around – or to forget to bring to class. And the online resources - such as the 3-D brain - or the calendar that shows all of their assignments in one place, keeps them organized and on track.

“Learning today is image learning, not just lectures and reading” said Mrs. Wood, “We still have class lectures, though, and a student can record it to listen to later.”