iPads: Just another learning tool… at last

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I am learning to love the iPad.

In Year 6 this year, each student has their own iPad while in school. Last year, each class had a trolley of laptops. Over the previous three years, I had reached a level at which I could get my students doing very creative things using their laptops. We reached a point where their relationship could shift from being purely content consumers, to being content creators.

At the start of this year, with the laptops gone, it was like having the rug pulled out from under my/our feet. Suddenly, I didn’t know how to do anything. I couldn’t seem to create anything myself, never mind teach my students how to.

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Slowly, but surely, that is changing. Not only are we all starting to create again, we are also learning how to share what we create more quickly and effectively. We are able to conduct research more quickly and effectively… simply because we can get an iPad going instantly. We are able to capture learning using photos and videos more quickly and effectively. The list goes on, as you probably know.

The most profound change, however, has been in the way we use devices in general. The pictures in the posting tell their own story. They show iPads sitting next to highlighter pens, notebooks, pencil, index cards and all the other “tools of learning”. The students are naturally picking up their iPads in order to do a specific job and then… wait for it… putting them down again. The simplicity of the device, the subtlety of its design and it’s quick functionality have helped it simply blend in with everything else we use for learning.

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It’s not perfect, and some things are still a bit annoying, but I reckon this could be closest so far to technology simply being another learning tool.

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