Posted August 2, 2010on:
When it comes to the iPad, the apps can make a huge difference.
Thanks to the efforts of @tucksoon and his PLN, I’ve learnt that there is no shortage of iPad apps for education:
- excellent examples in the video above
So it is not surprising for people like this CNET writer who was initially critical of the iPad to be sold on it after regular use. But it must be said that the iPad was still used like a laptop computer in the examples.
Just what are the technical affordances of Apple’s newest darling? The iPad:
- is a multitouch input device
- offers more screen real estate than a mobile phone
- is an instant-on device
- offers wireless Internet access via wifi or 3G
By combining the latter two properties, you get potentially instant access to information that you need. You can then view or manipulate what you find more naturally and easily thanks to the first two properties. That hints at some of the iPad’s social and pedagogical affordances, but are there others?
I think this is what articles like iPads and authentic learning experiences from the Australian Teacher Magazine try to address. But as I read it, it was hard for alarm bells not to go off.
Why? All the reasons that were brought up in the Aussie article (e.g., authentic learning, kinaesthetic learning) can be done about as effectively and much more cheaply with netbooks. Or with the phones students already have. The iPads are great to have, but are not essential.
Nonetheless I applaud that school’s effort in being among the first to explore the possibilities. I also like the fact that they are getting 21 units for a trial rather than a blanket programme. But I hope that along with the apps they hope to find or develop, they also design and implement pedagogy that runs parallel with and takes full advantage of iPad technology.
I’m not the first to say this and I won’t be the last: The technology alone isn’t going to change things; it’s the pedagogy that must change and drive change.