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iPad Catching on as Education Tool
posted by: Colin | September 12, 2011, 03:28 PM   

Apple's innovative tablet computer, the iPad, has been on the market less than two years yet it is already making a splash on the education scene. Since its introduction, the touch-screen device has been purchased for use in thousands of public school classrooms and is being hailed as a convenient, hands-on alternative to traditional desk-top computers for students of all ages and skill levels.

Currently, there are over 40,000 education applications for the iPad, with more added everyday according to Apple. These applications are essentially computer programs that are designed for students as learning tools, both interactive and static. From textbook readers, to interactive "instruments", the iPad has become a one-stop-shop for students and teachers of all subjects.

For special needs students, the technology offered by the iPad can be life changing. High school senior, Anthony Leuck is severely disabled but uses the tablet to "play" the guitar using a music app and his knuckles. "Our children, with just a gentle touch, can color; they can play instruments," said Gina Shulman, a social worker at Anthony's school. "The possibilities are endless." This is just one example of the iPad's growing popularity among special-needs students who are able to use the lightweight and mobile devices as customized personal learning tools.

Some students are using the iPad not only for interactive learning apps, but as an E-reader that allows students to read and highlight textbooks in real time. The technology is updated constantly and allows students to read their classroom assignments and text on-the-go without lugging around multiple heavy books.

Even administrators and school boards are seeing the device as a practical alternative. "If a 200-page agenda needs to be printed, then sent via post service, it wouldn't take long for (the iPads) to pay for themselves," said Adam Hillman, an associate superintendent. "They work great as a document reader, the battery lasts 10 hours or so, and they travel well."

While many are calling the tablet computer the new standard, not everyone is a believer in the iPad as an education tool. One blogger comments, "Take math. Students dislike it and perform badly in it. And what's our answer? A new platform. This is like reading a novel, hating it, and concluding it would be better on the Kindle."

Clearly, while we cannot rely on tablet computer technology to instill a love of learning, or teach our children all concepts, the iPad can serve a purpose for a wide variety of students. With the devices being purchased for classroom use in districts across the country, it's possible that this technology might surpass the use of desktop computers in the years to come.

What do you think about the iPad? Is it an effective education tool?
Comment below.

>> Originally posted by Alix on the AAE Blog.


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