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iPads in the Classroom: Learning and Fun

iPads in the classroomToy or tool, that’s been the debate surrounding the iPad from the time it was introduced. Now several years into the new technology, there may not be a definitive answer but many classroom teachers are embracing it.  One thing is clear: mobile technology is here to stay. iPads are seismographs, decibel meters, storyboards, speech therapy assistants and can even be used as a mobile classroom monitor! That’s what COE faculty heard from three educators at a special “Voices from the Field” mini-conference held at COE last month. The consensus from the teachers: iPads are a great teaching tool and fun.

Fay Edwards hadn’t even heard of an iPad when she took on a technology initiative last year in her 4th grade reading class at Taylors Creek Elementary School in Hinesville, Georgia, where each student would have access to an iPad during her class. Her biggest concern was that any new technology would just add to the already busy work days of classroom teachers. She wanted the iPad to supplement the curriculum, not replace or add anything.

She learned that despite her own lack of experience with mobile technology, she adapted easily to the iPad, and it quickly became her most useful resource – for herself and her students. It replaced the CPS unit for homework discussion, helped students organize and visualize writing assignments, became the story-time reader, and taught students about responsibility and respect. And Edwards found earning iPad game time was an excellent incentive. Other educators echoed her experience.               

The mini-conference was part of a year-long investigation into the use of iPad technology by COE faculty and staff that will culminate with a spring campus-wide conference and later, a publication of the findings. COE provided full-time faculty and staff with iPads as an opportunity to design, develop and implement innovative pedagogical strategies to meet the needs of its 21st century educator candidates. In addition, it supports the college’s commitment to diversity by allowing faculty and administrators to engage in a collaborative exploration of new tools specifically designed to meet the needs of its candidates as well as the needs of the learners these candidates will serve.

In addition to Edwards, faculty heard from Rob Lindsey, a science teacher at Portal Middle School in Portal, Georgia; and Pam Anderegg, head of the department for Speech-Language Pathology in Effingham County, Georgia, and the coordinator of assistive technology for the school system. Here is a list of the apps discussed by the presenters TapToTalk, Look-2-Learn, Speak It, ArtikPixFull, Minimal Pairs, Speech Trainer, Little Logic, GoTogether, Sounds, Sound Touch Lite, Memory King, iSeismometer, VUMeter, Planets, Wind Tunnel, WavePad, Google Earth, Google, Cstr Physics, iBooks, Splashtop, Bump, oMoby, iEMF, VNC Viewer, Units, Skitch, Penultimate, Transfer, WolframAlpha, Idea Flight, iMediaShare, Messenger, Skype, Dropbox, AppAdvice, Photon, Science360, Doodle Buddy, PuppetPals, Keynote, Kindle, Popplet, and Noterize. For more information on the COE’s iPad project, contact Dr. Judi Repman.

Photo caption: Fay Edwards shares how she uses iPads in her reading classes.

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