I asked another class today to share their initial thoughts on the iPads. This class is much more diverse–juniors and seniors, all learning levels–and they’ve been using the iPads for two weeks. Some of their thoughts…
“It consumes/requires less resources and makes it much easier to do tests and also for group assignments. I can’t think of any disadvantages other than the fact that it takes a minute or 2 to hand them out, but the timing gets better every class.”
I’m assuming one of the resources this student refers to is paper. In this class, instead of using scratch paper for quick response discussions, we use Socrative. And just like my other class, instead of making copies of articles, we read them online. I also have struggled with the disadvantage this student points out–handing out the iPads and putting them away eats into class time. But I’m glad this students feels we get more effective each day!
“Advantages: you have more advanced learning techniques and its more of what the “real world” uses. It’s more fun for students and allows them to be more interactive with giving their thoughts and opinions like with using this student app you can’t see who put what so it makes more students answer the questions.
Disadvantages: it can make students distracted and also some students may not know how to use iPads so it is more time consuming for them and the class when the teacher has to take time to help out those uninformed students.”
This student was not the only one to bring up the distraction factor. In fact, in this class where 25 students responded, all but one were concerned about the possibility of students being distracted or off task because of the Internet. I go back and forth on this concern–yes, there’s a part of me that wishes I could see every single screen all the time to make sure students are with me. And then I remember the notes I wrote in high school, the doodles and marginalia I drew, and in college, entire physics classes where I wrote in my journal for 75 minutes. So, it’s not always the medium that’s the distraction, right?
The other point this student brings up also was repeated by several others, and that is how many students lack intuitive knowledge for the iPad. And this has been a tough one to figure out–how much do I teach in terms of learning the operating system up front, and how much do I just teach as issues arise? I’ve been opting for teaching as the issues arise. But one element that I have absolutely loved to see is when a student is a little bit behind, other students step up and show their peers what to do.
Check back Friday for more feedback from the people this iPad Academy affects the most: the students.