iPads In The Classroom – The Other Side

For the past 4 weeks, I have been standing on my digital soapbox sharing my opinion about using iPads In The Classroom and for the most part, response has been good. It certainly hasn’t hurt my ego getting quoted and re tweeted but do we really want to hear about what I think? What about the kids and their thoughts? So this week is a little snip-it from the kids and what they think about iPads In The Classroom Thus Far.

I put 5 questions to the kids which they could choose to answer or not. Most of the kids abstained but the small sample gave me a pretty good idea where we currently stand and where we have to go in the future. Here is a sample of their answers.

Why did you join the iPad class?

    • “My handwriting is horrible and I hoped this would allow me to avoid having to hand in assignments done by hand”
    • “Because I love to use technology” X 5
    • “I thought it would be pretty cool to use technology so ofen and associate the ipad with school and its so awesome that we have this technology available. Also i have a bunch of friends in the cohort.

What do you like about the iPad class?

    • “I like how it’s relaxed and done on computers since I can type faster and have freedom to search things on the internet.”
    • “I like the fact that I can go on the internet to research n a project and not have to go to the computer lab. I also like the fact that I can access my classmates comments and thoughts when we have a discussion in class “
    • “I like the fact that we are actually using a pretty big variety of apps and the teachers are also involved with the ipads.”
    • “Doing our assignments online,so that we can finish or hand in it at anytime.”
    • “We’re able to get information instantly”

What is bad about the iPad class?

    • “The major thing is sometimes it is annoying when you are trying to listen to the teacher and other people are playing on their IPads so the teacher has to stop the lesson to get their attention”
    • “Too many people playing games and making the teacher wait.”
    • “It is stupid the way we have to hand stuff in!!!”
    • “The biggest issue is that there’s are some things that you need to have an app for but one isnt available. Or its too expensive or its not a good app.”
    • “We spend a lot of time on technical stuff rather than the real topic.”
    • “you can get very distracted, trust me I know”

Is the iPad class different then what you thought it would be?

    • “It’s different because I thought we wouldn’t be using things such as twitter because it’s not always the safest thing to have.”
    • “It is basically what I expected but the classes seem to move slower than in the regular class.”
    • “All the handing in stuff with different apps.”

What should be done to make it better?

    • “Maybe make sure that before starting the lesson everybody has their iPad covered or flipped over so their would be no interruptions.”
    • “Use only ONE Program to hand things in with!!!”

    I have to say, I was surprised by their responses. At least one kid will usually throw me for a loop when I do things like this but there is nothing here that we could not have predicted. What I am most pleased about is that there doesn’t seem to be anything grievously wrong here. It looks as though we only need a few tweaks here and there and get this flippin “handing assignments in” thing figured out. Perhaps the solution to most of our issues would be solved with an Android iOS with Google Docs integration and things would be better?

    Anyhow, my wife is sitting on the couch wondering why I am ignoring her on this Friday of a Thanksgiving (Canadian) long weekend so I must depart and enjoy Family, Friends and the gifts I have in the little world I live in.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.



  1. Bill Chapman

    I’d want to find out what they think they’ve learned using an iPad that they believe they couldn’t have learned without it.

  2. Post

    @Bill Chapman That is a really good question but it is one I think I will ask it a little bit later on. I know for certain that these kids are learning to use the technology for something other than playing games and let me tell you, it is a steep learning curve.

  3. Richard jones

    Handing stuff in.

    Use a solution like dropbox – have each teacher have their own public dropbox, for example.

    Or better still use your LMS – if you don’t have one yet, consider the many open source ones available.

    1. Post

      Thanks Richard,

      These are all things we are considering but you can’t simply drop a pages or keynote file into drop box from the iPad. You have to hook up to your desktop transfer the file then upload the file to drop box. Although this may seem simple enough, it is reason enough for kids to “forget” to do it or straight up neglect to do it.

  4. Jeremy Reid

    Richard and Kieth, I am hoping that some upgrades (like tomorrows iOS5) will allow some of this dropping of files to become easier.
    Of, course there is always email…ughh getting 30+ emails with attachments to mark.

    Oh, by the way, what a great idea to aks the students what they think of using iPads in the classroom. Can I steal that idea for a future blog post also?

    1. Post

      By all means Jeremy ask away. What I did was pretty crude and off the cuff so please refine it and we can all use it to harvest some good information.

      As for iOS5… I am not holding out much hope. I do not think the inability to share or submit files for the purposes of education or business or any other collaborative purpose is a matter of oversight or something they haven’t addressed yet. It is part of the cult of Apple and the complete and total control they like to exert over their users.

      I personally think Android tabs with google docs integration will be the way to go for education use.

  5. richard duell

    I don’t want my tax dollars paying for ipads because a couple of teachers are Apple fan boys/girls. You’re obsessed with trying to make this work but why? You’re wasting money trying to make ipads work in the classroom when textbooks are cheaper better and last much longer. Why spend a fortune for distracting devices that aren’t working and will be junk in 5 years. Textbooks are cheap, last forever and can’t be used to play games. Why fix what’s not broken…. with expensive toys? What happens when a child drops these very fragile devices… $500 down the drain that’s what. Who’s going to pay for a new one? Me with my tax dollars that’s who. Ipads don’t have replaceable batteries either so they’re very expensive disposable toys. Tablets aren’t ready for school use, stop trying to make it work with my tax dollars. Buy books and pencils not itoys.

    1. Post

      Thanks for your comment Richard, I appreciate it.

      A couple things.

      In this particular trial, the iPads were purchased by the student so they were not “purchased” by the taxpayer but I understand your concerns in the instance where the iPads are purchased by the school but in a case such as this, the iPads would be replacing some other technology in the form of Laptops in a portable cart that can be moved room to room or desk tops for a computer lab. The iPad isn’t really a new expense just an expense allocated to another technology.

      As for the expense of traditional textbooks vs digital textbooks, there is not contest. The digital version is FAR more economical that buying class sets of traditional books. With that said however, I feel in some instances, the traditional paper and print versions need to be used because they afford the reader a better learning experience.

      As for our efforts to force the issue of digitizing the classroom… Well fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view. The digitization is going to happen like it or not and we have two choices. Try to master it and make it work in our favour or continue to ignore its existence and influence on society or just hope for the best.

      Thanks again.

  6. jake

    Why ipads? Why not cheaper Android or more functional Windows 8 tablets that don’t rely on apps? I think Apple fans are pushing a device in the ipad that’s not ready for the classroom and are inconvenient in their current state.

    1. Post

      Thanks for you comment Jake!

      To tell you the truth, I am not an Apple fan. I would have preferred an Android tablet but it was a higher up decision to go with the iPad and since I wasn’t buying the device, I didn’t have much of a choice.

      As time goes buy and “digital integration” more common place, we will see all types of devices in the classroom because there is no one size fits all solution.

      Keith Rispin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *