Most of the educational technology articles out this week are how schools across the country are giving iPads or similar tablet devices to students, as they begin their school year. Think about how far we have all come with this idea.
A portable tablet device, such as an iPad, provides access to limitless print resources, textbooks, and other applications that can enhance a student’s educational experience. In an article by Stephanie Reitz of the AP, she outlines the many school districts that have actively engaged this resource in the classroom.
“While iPads have rocketed to popularity on many college campuses since Apple Inc. introduced the device in spring 2010, many public secondary schools this fall will move away from textbooks in favor of the lightweight tablet computers.
Apple officials say they know of more than 600 districts that have launched what are called "one-to-one" programs, in which at least one classroom of students is getting iPads for each student to use throughout the school day.”
The textbook issue is a keen example of immediate cost savings to a school district. The voluminous textbooks used for science, social studies, math, and other mainstay core programs tend to weight kids down. Plus, I would not be surprised to find out that students are not reading them the way their teachers think they are. The availability of text based resources also adds a great degree of fluidity as knowledge expands and contextually changes from moment to moment. Textbooks are frozen tomes in time, and take up much room when needing to be stored. Students enjoy the ability to read their textbooks as an app on a tablet. It makes it interesting and more manageable.
Margo Pierce of the T.H.E. Journal writes that the multimodal appeal of the tablet makes it an ideal tool for students to connect with. She quotes a principal of a school using the resources:
“If you get kids engaged in learning, you’ve taken away half the battle. When you get them engaged, you get them focused on what they need to do and you get them interested in learning. And if it’s using an iPad, we’ll use whatever we need to get kids learning. Once we got going and the kids started messing around, then it was just like wildfire.”
Here is hoping that the engagement we seek with students will be productive and constructive in enhancing educational needs for our students.
 Reitz, S. (September 3, 2011). Many US schools adding iPads, trimming textbooks. Retrieved September 5, 2011 at http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=14441812.
 Pierce, M. (September 6, 2011). iPads make better readers, writers. T.H.E. Journal. Retrieved September 7, 2011 at http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/09/06/ipads-make-better-readers-writers.aspx.