July 9, 2012

Of iPads and Classrooms


I hope you are enjoying the fine summer weather. We definitely are. Our evenings and weekends have been filled with the Jazz festival, ice cream, fireworks, ice cream, bike rides, camping, taking dips in every suitable body of water.... and oh! ice cream.

As we were having supper at my in-laws yesterday, our friends shared some surprising news with us. At their son's high school (the same my husband went to), all textbooks are being transferred to iPad! Now being the book-lover that I am, my first and very predictable reaction went along the lines of WHAT????

Seriously. How are they going to teach the value of books to teenagers? How are they going to prevent them from playing games in class under the guise of solving a math problem? What about the feel of crisp, fresh pages and the excitement of neatly stacking all of your textbooks at the beginning of the year? And the book-covering ritual? And little stickers with your name and other vital information? What is happening to the world?

But then, as I was thinking about it and discussing it with D, I started finding some positive sides. No more carrying around of heavy book-laden backpacks, for one. Potential possibility of explaining difficult concepts with animations (think Physics). Keeping all of your textbooks in one place and not forgetting them in your desk/locker/bedroom. Having more space on your desk for writing instead of it being taken up by a ridiculously huge textbook.

I am not saying that I am convinced. What about the cost of the iPad? Some families cannot afford one, unless the schools start giving them out or loaning them out for the school year. What if it's dropped? I remember the state of some of my textbooks that have made the journey from the class shelf to the floor a few times, and yet were still usable. Can the same be said of an iPad? And what of the kids who need to be able to follow the text with their finger and flip through the pages in search of an answer? To highlight and write in the margins with a real pencil? How are we to teach patience and thoroughness to kids who can use the "search" function without reading the whole text?

Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I don't think I would want this for my own kids. For now, in my mind, the advantages are too few in comparison to the worries the issue stirs up. For now.

What do you think? Have your kids already experienced the iPad in the classroom? How did they/you adapt to it? And if not, would you like to give it a go? Does it scare/excite you? How would you go about teaching the value of books to kids who are continuously being exposed to technology? I would love to hear from you!

The picture of the awesome-looking kid found here

1 comment:

  1. My daughter is in grade 1 (just finished) and uses iPads and computers in her computer class. Also there is a desktop in her homeroom. I don't know about replacing books with iPads. I still like being able to flip around a book and make notes easily. But then, we know what we know, right?

    Perhaps I am just a Luddite...