iPads in schools? Are you mad?
‘University just got difficult’, the phrase I have just uttered to my Mum in response to the generic ‘how is Uni going?’ question. Ask anybody at University and they will agree the transition between 1st and 2nd year into 3rd year is a huge challenge, and one which I am relishing in undertaking. As of last night, things got serious; I am now leading a research project in the use of iPads in a KS1 classroom, as part of my dissertation.
Sitting in my dissertation meeting last night, the question was posed to me: ‘why do you use an iPad in your daily life’? The response in itself was irrelevant (a nervous mumble from myself), and it was in fact the smile that erupted upon my face which truly painted a picture of what my iPad meant to me. A single smile on my face told a 1000 words and masterfully demonstrated the importance of this object not only in my life but for millions of other users around the world. Worldwide consumer tablet sales are estimated to reach 118.9 million units in 2012, according to market research firm Gartner, is this trend likely to continue for the foreseeable future? Of course it will. What is more important, is that how we as practitioners harness this technology, embed it within our practice and most importantly enrich the lives and education of our children.
What strikes me within the current curriculum and ‘tablet resistance’ mindset that many practitioners face is that the curriculum is grossly out of date, and has failed to deliver a learning space within schools which is alike the space children find themselves within outside of school. Yelland (2007) argues that
We should not be mapping the use of new technologies onto old curricula,rather, we need to rethink our curricula and pedagogies in the light of the impact that we know technologies can have on learning and meaning‑making in contemporary times.
The influential Jobs (1996) famously argued that ‘what’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology’, and he is now more right than ever (a statement given in 1996!). Let’s face facts, a school going out and buying 100 iPads for their school without a ‘learning vision’ is quite frankly a fantastic waste of money, I know students that could utilise this money better.
What I really want to know is if I was to come into your school, armed with a crate of tablets…what would you do with these? How would your implementations improve, enrich and engage your pupils? How far does your pedagogy go in order to accommodate these devices into your practice?
I appreciate all responses as this will go a long way in informing my research into this area. The title of my research project is likely to be ‘how do new pedagogies arise as a result of the emergence of new technologies’?
Jobs, S (1996) The Next Insanely Great Thing. Interviewed by Gary Wolf [in person] Wired, February 1996.
Yelland, N (2007). Shift to the Future: Rethinking Learning with New Technologies in Education. Oxon: Routledge. 1-2.