Some educators consider that the handset is “fashion”, others who represents greater technological advancement since overhead projector
When American students returned to school this week after the northern hemisphere’s winter recess, some carried in their backpacks brand new iPads from Apple in computerdo, not gifts from their parents, but of their schools. An increasing number of institutions in the United States are adopting the device as a tool to teach Kafka in multimedia, history through games and mathematics in sophisticated step-by-step animations that teach complex problems.
As part of a pilot program, the Roslyn high school on Long Island, delivered 47 iPads to students and teachers from two rooms in the day 20 December. The school district hopes to eventually be able to provide iPads to all of its 1,100 students.
The iPads cost $750 each and will be used in class and at home during the school year to replace textbooks, allowing students to correspond with teachers and turn in papers and homework assignments, as well as store your portfolio performance.
“This allows us to extend the classroom beyond these four walls,” said Larry Reiff, an English teacher at Roslyn, which now offers all your online course material.
Can be a fad
Technological fads have come and gone in schools and other experiments intended to alter the educational experience for kids who grew up with video games and YouTube have had mixed results. Educators, for example, are still divided over the initiatives to give every student a laptop have made any difference academica.
At a time when school districts are trying to approve their budgets so they don’t have to lay off teachers or make cuts in programs, spending money on tablets may seem like an extravagance. And some parents and teachers fear that schools are rushing to invest in before your educational value has been proven by research.
“There is very little evidence that children learn more, faster or better using these machines,” said Larry Cuban, a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, who believes that the money would be better spent to recruit, train and retain teachers. “iPads are wonderful tools to involve the children, but the novelty wears out and you get the same issues about teaching and learning”.
But school leaders say that the iPad is not just a new toy and a powerful and versatile tool, with a plethora of application with educational purposes.
“If there is an application that does something I need, there will be sooner or later,” said Reiff, who claims to have used an application that includes all the works of Shakespeare.
Educators also praise the iPad’s physical attributes, including your great touch screen (about 9.7 inches) and design plan, which allows students to maintain visual contact with their teachers. And students like your light weight, which offers a relief compared to the heavy books that had to carry in their backpacks.
Roslyn school administrators also claim that the adoption of the iPad, which cost $ $56,250 for the first 75 (32 GB, with case and stylus) to the district, advances your effort to eliminate paper and cut costs.
Biggest advance since overhead projector
In Millburn, New Jersey, students at South Mountain Elementary School using two iPads purchased by the parent-teacher organization to play math games, study world maps and read “Winnie the Pooh”. Scott Wolfe, the principal, said he hopes to get another 20 iPads for the next school year to run apps that, for example, simulate a piano keyboard on the screen or display constellations based on location of the user.
“I think this could very well be the greatest technological bet for schools since the overhead projector,” said Wolfe.
The public schools of the city of New York has already asked more than 2,000 iPads, for $ $1.3 million; 300 went to a school in the Bronx, enough for all 23 teachers and half of the students to use at the same time.
More than 200 Chicago public schools enrolled in the financing of iPad bags, District 23 totaled $ $450,000. The Department of education of the State of Virginia is overseeing a $ $150,000 initiative for buying iPads that would replace history books and biology in 11 schools. And six high schools in four California cities (San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno and Riverside) are teaching the first course of algebra only on iPad, through an application developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Even children of the kindergarten are getting iPads. Pinnacle Peak school, in Scottsdale, Arizona, has converted an empty room in a lab with 36 iPads – called iMaginarium – which became the central room of the school, because, as the Director put it, “of all the devices that exist, the iPad has more appeal among children”.
But proponents of the technology, like Elliot Soloway, a professor of engineering at the University of Michigan, and Cathie Norris, professor of technology at North Texas University, question whether school administrators were so in love by iPads that have neglected the less expensive options, like smartphones that offer similar benefits at a fraction of the cost of the iPad. “You can do everything that the iPad makes it possible with other existing technologies and probably spend $ $300 to $400 less per unit,” said Soloway.
Apple has sold more than 7.5 million iPads since April, according to the company, but it is not known how many were for schools.
The company has developed a school market for iPad working with textbook publishers in creating programs and sponsoring workshops for administrators and teachers. However, it doesn’t seem to have marketed the tablet aggressively in schools as he did with his previous computers, some of which were offered with great discounts for schools and helped create a generation of Apple’s users. School officials say that Apple has offered only a standard discount of about 10% on the iPad.
About 5,400 of educational applications are available specifically for the iPad, of which about 1000 can be downloaded for free.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who developed the algebra program for the iPad, said it plans to compare the results of the tests of students that use the iPad and those that use traditional books. The iPad version offers author videos, equation solving, and individualized assessments, in addition to practical problems.
Many educators say they were waiting for a technology like the iPad.
“He brought the individual technology into the classroom without changing the environment,” said Alex Curtis, Director of the Morristown-Beard School in New Jersey, who bought 60 iPads for $ $36,000 and is considering to provide iPads to all students next year.
Curtis recently used an application for $ $1.99, Colorsplash, which removes or adds colors to images, to demonstrate the importance of color in painting by Caravaggio, in your class on Baroque art. “Traditionally, the history of art can only be seen on slides,” he said. “When students are able to manipulate the image, she comes alive.
Daniel Brenner, Roslyn Superintendent, said the iPads also save money in the long run, reducing the costs of printing of textbooks-estimated savings in two classrooms that use iPad will be $ $7,200 per year.
“This is not just a legal apparatus,” said Brenner. “We’re talking about changing the way we teach in the classroom”.
By Winnie Hu