Journal #9: First Graders with iPads? (NETS 5)
Getting, S., & Swainey, K. (2012). First graders with ipads?. Learning and Leading with Technology,40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/DigitalEdition/digital-edition-August-2012_copy1.aspx
Summary: This article is written by two elementary school teachers in Minnesota who used technology and digital age ideas as inspiration to help their students’ reading abilities. After grouping the students based on their levels of need, they had the students do routine work on the iPad with applications and other websites, which provided practice for a variety of topics contributing to reading ability. After having the students work for a while they found that students spent significantly more time on task while doing activities on their iPads. They recorded some of the apps and websites that they found most popular among themselves and the students in each of the categories they focused on, sight words, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and literacy. They shared this information in the article, but also discussed how they used it in various presentations they did, which they involved their students in too in order to show easy the devices are to use. They received a lot of support, but they also ran into some thing that gave them some trouble, including their need to develop the lessons entirely from scratch, the limits on subject matter, technical difficulties, noisy applications that were distracting at times without headphones, and the cost of the technology. In the end, they felt they had achieved success with the students that they worked with and concluded that they had engaged the students in a technologically rich, collaborative learning environment.
Q1: Is it realistic to think that schools can adopt the use of iPads across the board?
A1: The authors did mention that they found it was limited by subject matter. With more research in other areas and new ideas about how to use them in different subjects, hopefully lessons and success will be found. Thinking about it as an aspiring math teacher, it seems that I would be able to find some applications that can provide interactive ways to compute and solve different kinds of problems. To be able to see and interact with a program, even to practice basic facts, it seems like the students might find this more engaging than the old methods of flashcards, repetitive worksheets, etc.
Q2: Where will schools and districts get the money to fund these types of changes in the classroom?
A2: These teachers received U.S stimulus funding to purchase the iPads and select applications in order to go through with the experiment. A school district that I know of received grant money similar to these teachers. With all of the talk about budget cuts and other concerns surrounding money in education, it seems interesting that these funds have been available for these kinds of projects. They are intriguing ideas and the success is amazing with these devices, however the cost really could become an issue.