iPads Given to School

GDS has received a gift of 25 iPads as well as funds to purchase applications to evaluate the effectiveness and usability of iPads in the classrooms. After winter break, the technology department will set up a structured, two-phase evaluation process: first, teachers will be able to checkout iPads in two-week periods for evaluation, and then a group of teachers and administrators will meet to discus how we use them at school. All participants will be asked to write posts about their iPad experiences on the GDS TechTips blog.


One Response

  1. I’ve enjoyed having the iPad. It really is perfect for reading sorts of aps– the magazines, the newspapers,– and though I thought I’d miss the Flash applications, that hasn’t been an issue. I’ve also been impressed by how long it lasts without recharging! It really seems to go all day without needing to be plugged in.

    So far as I’m concerned, however, the lack of serious word processing will always be a limitation. This is partially a generational thing– people my age touch type–even when I used a Palm I had a real keyboard that attached. Typing on glass won’t work for me. It’s too easy to go off track, and it just slows me up. And when I’m on the laptop I’m working with PPt (which I convert to Active/Inspire) or Word 75% of the time.

    But my main thinking about the iPad has been potential uses for the students, and I’m very positive about that prospect, for several reasons:
    1/ We’ve been looking at the price of textbooks and have asked students whether they’d be interested in an electronic version (much cheaper!). Students have been negative about electronic textbooks. But somehow I think they’d feel differently about using eTexts if they were working with an iPad. The size and configuration make it easy to read as well as to highlight and take notes.

    2./ If all students had them I’d be able to assign much more online stuff — For example, when the US class is involved with Reconstruction it would be great to assign the Yale lectures by David Blight. I’ve tried this, but often get three or four students who somehow couldn’t make it work, so I wind up suggesting online stuff, but usually not really using it as the requirement of the day. But if I could be sure that students had decent internet access at home, I could integrate online stuff much more completely into what I do.
    3/ If students had iPads in class, I know I’d find uses for it there as well, There are a number of interactive websites (a great on on Fort Sumter, for example, that asks students to advise Lincoln.) I’ve tried some of these in the computer lab, but they usually turned out to be dry in that context. So, again, I wind up suggesting them on my Blackboard site with a few enterprising students using them.

    So I’m grateful for this chance to see that all the excitement has been about, and could really see the iPad as a wonderful educational tool.


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