From digital textbooks to edu-apps, the iPad is an undeniable asset for students of all ages, but kids don’t get to have all the fun. There are multiple ways that teachers and professors can use the iPad to educate, communicate, and stay organized.
As the iPad becomes more common in classrooms from Pre-K through graduate school, teachers and professors have the opportunity to use the device to monitor how students learn.
If a teacher is giving a math lesson, for example, she can have the students take a quiz on the iPad, and get fast feedback about their progress. Fast feedback saves teachers precious time. If the kids understand the material, it’s OK to move on. If not, a teacher can see who needs help with what before the test. Using the iPad in the class also elucidates conceptual black holes — if nobody gets a question correct, then it’s time to revisit that particular topic.
From the chalkboard to the whiteboard to the Smart Board, teachers have been presenting class lessons in much the same way for centuries. Out of necessity, it has always been a “lean back” experience for students — at least until someone gets called to the board to conjugate a verb or solve a quadratic equation.
Since the iPad can be used as a “lean forward” device, it offers a new way impart knowledge to their students. The iPad’s ability to improve teacher-student communication benefits everyone.
Whether the teacher uses the iPad as a digital whiteboard with an app such as Educreations Digital Whiteboard or Show Me simply ports web-based classroom tools (such as BrainPop or Spelling City) to their iPad, one thing is certain: no one is falling asleep during these classes.
In higher education, apps like GoodReader and DropBox allow Professors to offer students study guides, lecture notes, as well as copious amounts of required reading all without sending an email or visiting the copy shop. While, at any grade level, Apple’s own iTunes U has a lot of potential to reinvigorate a teacher’s curriculum.
Even students who miss class (for good reason, of course) can get caught up before the next lecture, so there are no excuses for being unprepared.
The iPad doesn’t just help teachers when they’re with the students, it’s a great tool for all the hours teachers put in when they aren’t with their students. Teachers can use an iPad for classroom management. With apps such as Classroom Management Essentials or Classroom Manager, a teacher can track grades, assignments, and even behavior. While these tools are aimed primarily at teachers who work in K-8 environments, teachers in secondary and higher education can still use the iPad to track grades with Numbers or use Evernote to compile material that will comprise a semester’s worth of work.
Despite what many Kindergardeners think, teachers don’t actually live in their classrooms. The iPad’s portability means that, just like their students, teachers can now work from practically anywhere. Whether a teacher wants to track grades, enhance a lecture, or hold office hours on the lawn, the iPad is such a flexible tool that it really can be all things to all people.
Teachers — how are you using the iPad in the classroom and at home? What are your best practices for ed tech? Share your ideas on the comments section.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mortsan.