1:1 iPads in the Classroom

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DED 318 iPads in Education

Technology in schools is one of the fastest-growing trends our world has seen. Almost like any profession in today’s society, by the time college students have graduated from their respective programs, the technology and tools about which they learned during their coursework to get their degrees are outdated when they arrive on the job. It’s no different with education. In the past 10 years it seems, education has seen a surge of technology and its uses in the classroom, which has been spurred forward by the surge of emerging technology itself. One of the latest trends in education is one-to-one (1:1) devices, which is where every student is given a device to supplement his or her learning in the classroom and beyond. The most popular and talked-about device to be used is the iPad. This reflection will briefly discuss the positive and negative effects of having 1:1 iPads in the classroom, and will also consider my personal opinion, based on research, about this growing trend in education.

First of all, I’d like to discuss what is different about an iPad. There have been many schools that have already been 1:1 laptops for a number of years; in fact, I graduated from a 1:1 Macbook high school. However, iPads are quickly overtaking the laptop initiative – why? A couple of reasons in conjunction are time and space. iPads take up less space than laptops, and their flash memory allows for faster boot up (The History 2.0 Classroom). Also, everything that can be done on a laptop can be done on an iPad. Some argue the learning curve of a virtual keyboard, and as someone who wasn’t raised with touch screens, I have to agree that it is a little more difficult. However, the students who are coming through our classrooms today have been exposed to touch screens much earlier and are more comfortable with them than those of us who are in the midst of this changing technology. Another reason iPads are winning favor over laptops is that it is an all-in-one device. It not only has word-processing and web browsing, but it has a camera, ability to record video, and the thousands of applications available continue to extend the capabilities of this device. Finally, the iPad is designed to be a personal device, further making it suitable for a 1:1 environment (Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students).

Now let us take a look at how the iPad can affect a classroom. The research is overwhelmingly positive for how technology, especially in a 1:1 setting, can impact students. In a study on Education reform published on www2.ed.gov, one of the most-common teacher-reported effects on students was an increase in motivation and self esteem. Their students clearly took pride in being able to use the same tools employed by professionals. As one teacher said, “Students gain a sense of empowerment from learning to control the computer and to use it in ways they associate with the real world” (Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students). Also according to this article, students are able to acquire more technological skill though exposure to a device day after day, they experience more collaboration with peers, and they have increased opportunity for research and use of outside resources (Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students).

In reference to another article that discussed whether or not the elementary grades are too young to introduce 1:1 devices, Mark Pullen wrote that the technology increases the teachers’ ability to differentiate instruction. With an individual device in front of each student, that student has a myriad of tools available from which to choose in order to accomplish a single task. This makes it possible for teachers to actually individualize (more so than differentiate) instruction, which cannot always be accomplished through traditional methods of instruction. Another positive influence of having 1:1 devices in the classroom is that the technology allows students to publish work for a real-world audience. Many teachers are using blogs in their classrooms to increase student literacy and writing (much research has been done on how iPads can increase students’ abilities in these areas – check out New Study Finds iPads in the Classroom Boosts Test Scores). The fact that students realize that anyone can read their work, including their peers, is a strong motivator for them to produce their best work. Students gain a lot of pride from seeing work published for the world to read, which is a great way to build student self esteem and self efficacy. The last point made by Pullen is that 1:1 devices can extend learning beyond the school day. 1:1 programs often allow students to take these devices home, which provides the opportunity for parents to work with students on the device and use the educational apps on it (Pullen). In an article by John Dunn, he raises the point that iPads allow for integration versus isolation of skills. In the traditional classroom, students learn different disciplines in chunks. However, the iPad allows for skills to no longer be taught in isolation. “The distinctions between subjects get blurred as students are able to pick a topic in which they’re interested read about that subject in depth, write collaboratively about it on a wiki or in Google Docs, Skype with an expert in that field, and so on” (Dunn). iPads certainly have the ability to extend our students’ horizons.

But what about the negative effects, if any, of iPads in the classroom? Because of the novelty of these devices, there hasn’t been the opportunity to explore this concept as in depth as necessary to provide a concrete answer. However, there are concerns and things of which to be aware when working in a 1:1 environment:

  • The skill of reading a physical book is important. Devices should not replace this skill. Students still must learn how to read left to right, top to bottom. Also, in higher education, there is something to be said about being able to take notes, tests, write a paper, etc with a book in your lap instead of having to navigate between several windows.
  • Physical movement in the classroom is important; devices should not diminish a classroom’s amount of movement. Especially with the nation’s obesity epidemic, physical activity is important. I believe physical activity is still the best way to engage students, with technology coming in at a close second.
  • Devices should not replace concrete manipulatives, especially in the elementary grades. I don’t consider devices a tactile or kinesthetic method of learning. Life isn’t a virtual experience, and neither should all learning become virtual.
  • Devices should not become a distraction. This is my strongest reservation about technology in the classroom. Technology must be used as a learning tool, not for convenience. I see the potential for teachers to become lazy and to use devices just for everyday, mundane tasks; word processing, web browsing, an interesting app here and there. However, if a teacher is willing to work hard and spend the effort it takes to be creative, then 1:1 devices can become an incredible doorway to higher learning. Most of the research in support of technology in classrooms has been done on these teachers who create dynamic and fulfilling lessons for their students. When these kinds of activities become the norm, then technology and 1:1 devices will have my full support.

I truly believe that iPads and other technology filtering into the realm of education have the potential to transform the way we learn, how much we learn, and the meaning and depth of what we learn. As I stated before, it’s all in how we use it. I recommend that you read the following two articles about implementing 1:1 devices in the classroom and then how to manage that classroom. I very much agree with the philosophies discussed here.

Five Steps for Implementing a Successful 1:1 Environment

Five Strategies for 1 to 1 Classroom Management

Also, check out the following resources on iPads in education that gave me ideas for this reflection and for you to make your own conclusions about this trend and learning tool.

Getting Started with iPads

5 Real Ways Educators are Using iPads

10 Ways iPads are Used in Schools

 iPads in Schools

103+ Interesting Ways to Use iPads in the Classroom

Other resources and articles used:

Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students

The History of 2.0 Classroom

How 1:1 Technology is Making School More Real

Pros & Cons: Is Elementary Too Early for 1:1 Technology?

This concludes my DED 318 Technology in Education Class! Thanks for reading, and keep checking back as I start honing in my purpose of this website and make it more my own.

Miss Schneider

Day 11: Final Exam

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Question 1: Final Edudemic created on the iPads using Sonic Pics

Question 2: Final Semester Favorites, created on the iPad using Zapd

Reflect on two tools, activities, or resources that we used and discussed this semester. Why are they your favorites?


Question 3: Final Wow Moment, created on the iPad using either Zapd or Sonic Pics

What was your “wow” or “ah-ah” moment this semester and why?

Day 10: Web 2.0 – Youblisher

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Youblisher is such a cool site! It is a way to create online books, magazines, catalogs, business reports, or presentations. All you do is upload a document that you have created, and it creates a flipable or turnable book from the document. I didn’t upload anything because I didn’t want to publicly publish any of my lesson plans yet, but I did search around for some books that were already published that would be useful. I found a Common Core E-Guide that had great background and support on the new Common Core Standards. I can see my students using this site also as a way to compile and/or create a portfolio of their work. In my future Spanish classroom especially, I can see using this resource to have my students create guides about different Spanish-speaking countries, write a children’s book, or more. It’s a great tool to have students be able to publish their work for others to see!

Day 10: Web 2.0 – Music Theory

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Music theory is so important to become a more successful and effective musician! I’m a strong advocate for teaching music theory and using solfége in the public schools. Musictheory.net is a great resource for this! There are lesson plans, exercises, tools, and more. There are also apps available if I happen to someday teach in a 1:1 iPad school since the trend is moving in that direction.

Day 10: Web 2.0 – Classic Cat

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Classic Cat is a great site that catalogues what has generally become to be known as classical music. It has music organized by hundreds of composers from every period, by performers of specific name, country, or instrument, by the instrumentation used, and by genre. It includes videos and recordings of this music as well. This would be a great research resource if I ever had my students do a project over famous composers. It would also be a good place for them to go and listen to music they are performing or are interested in, especially since the recordings and videos would be of higher quality than what one can always find on Youtube. I could use this resource for teaching lessons, as well. If you are searching for a specific piece, then the catalog offers several different performances, which is great for students learning that piece.

Using Photo in the Classroom, Compare/Contrast Challenge

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The Best Ways to Use Photos in Lessons

Larry Ferlazzo’s post about using photos in the classroom is gold! We all know that photos and visual aids can truly augment learning. Especially in an age where our students are constantly stimulated, those of us who are not visual learners are becoming few and far between. Even those who don’t identify as being visual learners can benefit from a diagram if there is an especially complex process or system to be learned (subway routes, anyone?). This blog post is all about creative ways to use photos in the learning process. He also has several links to other resources on using photos. One of Ferlazzo’s favorite activities that also struck me was the Picture Word Inductive Model. It is a process for writing where students first brainstorm several (Ferlazzo mentions 20) words that describe or are related to a picture. They put these words into categories, and then continue brainstorming new words that fall into the categories created. Next, they complete a fill-in-the-blank activity that creates sentences about the picture, and then these sentences are also put into categories. The categories are converted into paragraphs, and the paragraphs are finally arranged into an essay. This system would be a valuable way to inspire writers who struggle with ideas or with just getting started.

Another photo phenomenon traveling through classrooms is the Compare/Contrast Photo Challenge. Here are my efforts and producing this challenge.

Questions: What can you tell be about the architecture of these two places? Are the from similar or different time periods?

These photos are from different places, but the same country. Why do they think they look so similar? Where do you think they were taken?

What kind of building do you think the ones with towers are? Why is that significant?

What else can you tell me about similarities or differences between these two photos? Do any of these look like places you would like to live? Why or why not?

Day 9: Podcast Reflection from iTunes

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Spanish Grammar Review – SER vs ESTAR

Molly Martin, MD has a great number of resources to help those interested to learn Spanish. Most of her work is focused on helping fellow doctors become proficient in medical Spanish, but she has also done a lot of work with basic and more advanced Spanish grammar and reviewing the concepts. In this podcast, Martin reviews the difference between when to use the verb ser, and when to use the verb estar. I selected this podcast because students often struggle with this concept since both verbs translate to is or are in English. This podcast is a great practice resource, because Martin refrains from a complicated explanation of the grammatical concept, and she uses examples to show these differences. The examples incorporate only one tense to eliminate too many variables, but they do incorporate both singular and plural subjects.



Spanish only Spanish Podcast – 47_Finding a Job

What a great resource for my advanced Spanish classes! Spanish only Spanish is a site and series of podcasts dedicated to helping Spanish learners get comprehension practice by listening to authentic speakers and their accents. The podcasts don’t include the entire lesson, however, it does include more than enough dialog for a high school Spanish class. In my opinion, having high school students listen to a dialog any longer than 2-4 minutes is a little too advanced. However, if I wanted to entire lesson, I could find it, plus a transcript, vocabulary and cultural notes, and comprehension worksheets on their website. The podcast I listened to was about finding a job, because I thought that could be relevant to high school students and also teach real life skills.



Music Education’s MUE597 Podcasts – Voice 101: Understanding Your Instrument

This would be an awesome podcast to show on one of the first few days of my choir classroom. This podcast from the music education department at West Chester University of Pennsylvania is all about “knowing your instrument,” so in this case, knowing your voice and the different parts of sound production. It goes over the proper mechanics of breathing, the different parts of the larynx, and what physically happens when we sing. Another great thing about this podcast is that it includes visual aids. There are diagrams of the anatomy of singing. What a great way to reach my high school choir and to ensure healthy singing!

Mystery Word Slideshow Using iPhoto

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Being a Mac user myself, I’ve become used to iPhoto and depend on it greatly to organize and store my pictures. Using the slideshow feature in the classroom is a great idea. For a general music lesson, I could use it to introduce the different kinds of note values that exist in notated music. In the Spanish classroom, I could use it much more regularly to show different Spanish-speaking areas of the world, the vocabulary words they will learn, or use it as a project for my students to create one of these things. Images are powerful instructional tools – iPhoto can make it easy to use them in the classroom!