At first glance, it may seem like mobile technology would only create a distraction in the classroom. But there’s a whole other side to tablets such as the iPad that make them valuable teaching tools. Check out these ways teachers are using iPads to help their students learn.
They Make Learning More Interactive
Image via Flickr by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
Think back to when you were in school. Do you remember “spacing out” during lectures? Weren’t you more excited with learning when you engaged in hands-on projects that helped you apply the ideas you learned? Students today are experiencing the same phenomenon, with 45 percent citing that they feel they’re “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” from school.
The iPad changes that. Instead of students sitting idly at their desks and listening to lectures they may not remember, tablet computers present unique opportunities for students to actively engage in the lesson and have fun doing it.
For instance, students who become frustrated with reading can use apps like Playtales — which helps children learn through interactive stories — to make reading feel more like a game than a chore. Teachers can use other games to teach real-world applications of concepts. For example, teachers can use the Red Bull Kart Fighter World Tour app to help students calculate averages. Or they might use the Angry Bird app to practice physics concepts.
They Present More Learning Opportunities
Being restricted to a classroom can limit a child’s learning opportunities since there’s only so much you can do in a single room. Devices like the iPad Air break down a lot of barriers.
For instance, many schools don’t have the resources to travel very far. The iPad gives students the opportunity to go on virtual field trips with apps like Skype. Monica Mitchell, an instructor at Albert Harris Elementary School, understands this concept. Since she can’t take her students to places like England or Yellowstone Park, she brings those places to the classroom by chatting with employees who can give students a virtual tour of the location and answer their questions.
Teachers can also team up with other instructors around the world and use Skype to connect their classes via video chat. The concept is simple: By using Skype on the iPad, teachers can make video calls to individuals across the world and project the video on the SmartBoard. With the iPad, the other instructor or tour guide can see the students and speak with them.
They Improve Presentations with Interactive Whiteboards
Another way to make learning more fun for students is through interactive whiteboards on the iPad. Instead of having teachers stand in front of the class to give a lecture, they use apps like Doceri to make it easy for students to participate in the lecture. This particular app allows teachers to project their presentation on the SmartBoard or TV and then move around the classroom and have students interact with the presentation live.
They Help Students Learn at Their Own Pace
Since the iPad turns everything digital, it makes it easier for students to learn at their own pace. If a child needs more time to understand a concept, he or she can watch videos on the tablet as many times as needed when the teacher can’t attend to him or her personally. Reading apps allow students to click on words they don’t understand, and the app will give them the definition, helping them expand their knowledge.
Math apps like Kids Learn Math Game promote learning environments where children can navigate the problems. Plus, apps like Keynote allow teachers to share lectures with their students so that they can review them on their own time if needed.
The learning environment is changing. Instead of a place where basic lectures and multiple-choice quizzes are the norm, iPads allow students to actively engage in lessons while learning the concepts at their own speed. Are you a teacher interested in using iPads in the classroom? Which apps and concepts are you most excited to implement?