How does one evaluate the iPad

I’ve been using my iPad for about a year, perhaps a tad longer. As a personal information and entertainment device, I have relied on it for just about everything. I always had a daily routine for professional development and relaxation, but it involved going to many sources, both analog and digital. Now virtually all of those sources are reproduced on my iPad. So, I can easily assess the role of the iPad in my personal/professional life because it has made it easier for me to manage my life and “touch” whatever my heart desires. As a teacher, however, the evaluation of the iPad appears, on on the surface, far more complex. I would like to argue that it is not. Here’s why:

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
  1. Size matters. Smaller than most laptops and larger than a Smartphone, the size of the iPad serves as a legitimate replacement for printed textbooks and other course materials / notebooks with the added benefit of interactivity.
  2. Interactivity matters. So say the learning theory folks backed by our own observations in the classroom. I can envision students interacting with me, their classmates, texts, notes, and supplementary materials on the iPad  —  and they will interact with the iPad more effectively than I.
  3. Education and entertainment overlap. It is often difficult to distinguish entertainment from education on the iPad. Most apps are fun to use, even if they have a serious intent. While some view this intersection of domains as problematic, I view it as a benefit. The iPad has removed the barriers created in the traditional computing world between serious apps created for business and fun apps for kids, with educational apps shoe-horned in the middle. The iPad will eliminates those barriers by using components of all, and make learning fun.

You will feel a compulsion to challenge any one of these claims based on a specific observation or experience, but I would argue that your challenge will be addressed by another of the three claims. What I like best about the iPad is that the above claims fit well with our approach to teaching and learning. A digital backpack that promotes interactivity and fun sounds like the perfect complement for what we do so well today.

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About jbackon

I'm a history teacher and curricular technology maven who loves to think out loud.
This entry was posted in Technology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How does one evaluate the iPad

  1. Pingback: Learning Goals as we move toward 1:1 Learning at CIS « melaniekells

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