iPad’s are everywhere theses days, and I do mean everywhere. I see people using theme in grocery stores, retail outlets, standing in line at Starbuck’s, and I have even seen a guy using his iPad while he was driving. It’s no doubt they are one of the most useful devices of the century. They have changed the way we do things in our daily life, and the way we react with the world around us. It was foreseen by most that they would become a vital learning tool for modern education. And iPad’s are now making their way into the public schools.
Many schools now are using iPad’s as a cost-effective way of replacing text books and paper assignments. Text books are not cheap and the cost quickly adds up when each student needs one for each class. Thanks to the iPad, the school only needs to buy one iPad for each student and outfit each one with an app that can download an electronic version of each text-book. Dramatically cutting cost. And unlike paper text books, ebooks can be updated frequently without the need of purchasing an entire new physical hard copy. This allows for schools to make available to students, the most current and relevant learning materials in the classroom.
The devices also allow the school to dramatically cut down on paper and waste by implementing class assignments and homework into a digital version on the iPad. Students are able to email their work directly to the teacher, and also receive grades and feedback. No need for the teacher to stand at the copy machine printing off a hundred copies of a test. This makes a significant cut into the schools spending on paper and toner.
But like all electronics, they will need to be repaired or serviced at some point. And they will most likely become outdated in the years to come. But according to one schools budget analysis, the overall cost of using the iPad’s compared to traditional text-book and paper, is significantly less. Even if the school needed to replace the devices every other year. For example, a school with a freshman class of 300 students, could save at least $4,000 on text books alone.
As great as this all sounds, there are some things that an electronic device will not be able to replace. Such as the interaction between students and the teacher, and hands on learning. Even with the most modern device in hand, students still need the basics of a solid curriculum and skilled teachers. The iPad is just a more modern approach to the existing education system.
I don’t want to oversell the idea of iPad’s in the classroom, but there is no doubt that it has its benefits. I think it’s something that will take a couple of years to iron out the wrinkles, and find what works and what does not. From junior high to college, I think the iPad will forever change the way we learn.