It seems like every passing day brings new announcements of schools adopting iPads in the classroom. A lot of schools are experimenting with pilot programs in individual classrooms or grade levels, but the most ambitious programs are going 1:1 with the iPad, meaning that they’re putting an iPad in the hands of each and every student in the school.
The relative low cost of the iPad as well as its unobtrusive form factor make iPad deployments in schools fundamentally different from the computer labs or media carts that many people are used to seeing in classrooms. iOS devices are well on the way to fulfilling the promise of ubiquitous computing, and education–where traditional computing devices risk ending up as distractions to learning–is benefitting immensely.
At the same time, the iPad is still very young and iOS represents a significant departure from the desktop computers that educators are used to using and that administrators are used to managing. Because of these differences, schools will need to pick up some new computing habits and developers will need to build some new tools to truly make the best of these devices in the classroom.
Here are a couple of the challenges we’re seeing educators in the edtech community discussing in regards to using the iPad in the classroom:
- Making app content work with an existing curriculum
- Monitoring student activity and performance
- Constructing workflows for students to submit work and receive feedback
None of these challenges are insurmountable, but they do require different solutions and different ways of thinking compared to the typical desktop computer deployments in schools.
Are you an educator using iPads in the classroom? We’d love to hear from you about how you’re approaching these problems. What other problems have you had to tackle when adopting these devices in the classroom?