The classroom is one of the best arenas to put new tech and IT devices to good use. When it comes to great and interactive new devices in the classroom it is hard to make a better mousetrap than the Apple iPad. The iPad has changed the way things get done and Apple truly ups the ante in the classroom. Since the introduction of the iBooks Author application, the iPad has truly become a tool that has changed the educational setting of the classroom.
Books in a Tablet
It has been written about plenty, but one of the greatest assets of using and integrating the iPad into the classroom is the fact that the little tablet can become a whole library. This means children no longer have to lug around 30 pounds of books when they head home or through the school during the day. Add in new and interactive ways of introducing multi-media into the digital textbooks and the iPad makes learning fun.
Examples of this include penning texts with the iBooks Author application. This template-based software allows educators to design, write and publish textbooks that can contain movie clips, music, presentations, and touch-screen interactions and allow students to highlight, take notes and "bookmark" sections as they see fit.
Not only does the iPad become the epicenter for the textbooks, it also allows students to find assignments, submit completed homework via the Internet (to the teacher), study "virtually" with other students and access tomes of research via online browsing. For remote and rural schools, the iPad-based teaching tools open up the world to students who may not otherwise experience or interact with outside communities.
One such example is the Skagway, Alaska central school. As a beta-program, the school decided to issue iPads to students so they could access statewide and global education resources. Uses of the iPad at the Skagway School include online practice for the Drama, Debate and Forensics team; the school's robotic challenge program; and issuing electronic textbooks instead of outdated and expensive paper textbooks. This is a boon for schools such as the Skagway example as the shipping costs alone to get the old style textbooks are very expensive. K-12 students at the Skagway school learn how to find assignments, study, and research and make multi-media reports and assignments with the device.
Because the iPad has Facetime software as well as a front-facing video camera, it allows rural and remote students to have real-time video chats or class sessions that may not be offered in the school due to limited resources. Using the Alaska example again, the iPad brings bush communities into the modern world via classroom sessions organized through the Anchorage headquarters. If a student in the bush wishes to study a foreign language that is not offered in the school itself, they can now petition the school and take a virtual class via the state system, all because of the iPad.
While the iPad is still a fairly new device, it is getting applied and integrated into schools and education programs quickly due to its size and versatility.