Hundreds of schools in the New York area are purchasing iPads to replace textbooks, eliminate paper (and photo copying), and engage students. The article doesn’t refer to the research that has already been done on how using technology can improve student achievement.
“The Impact of Educational Technology on Student Achievement, What the Most Current Research Has to Say” by John Schacter summarizes the positive and negative impact of technology on student achievement by looking at over 500 individual research studies. He found that, on average, students who used computer based instruction scored at the 64th percentile on tests of achievement compared to students in the control conditions without computers who scored at the 50th percentile and that students learn more in less time when they receive computer based instruction, plus students like their classes more and develop more positive attitudes when their classes include computer based instruction.
The Ontario Ministry of Education’s “Growing Success” document outlines how to use assessment for learning. When students keep blogs for reflection about personal development, they can track their own learning. If students are to “set individual goals, monitor their own progress, determine next steps and reflect on their thinking and learning”, what better tool to facilitate this process than an iPad. The device is readily available, welcoming and as personable as Facebook, easy to post reflections on and just as easy to refer back to. It even comes with a calendar to help monitor and track progress. (Assessment For Learning and As Learning, page 28)
Effective use of technology in learning fosters collaboration, networking partnerships. Flat Classroom Project is an example of effective global collaboration. Students from around the world collaborate together to produce a wiki about technology and documentaries about the technology trends. The project is based on Thomas Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat”, a commentary on how technology has facilitated the global economy. The project was the brain child of Vicki Cook and Julie Lindsay and it has become a mecca for thousands of students who embrace diversity and engage with technology to collaborate.
ISTE has some ideas on how to use the iPad in education. Check out the page HERE.
ISTE also talks about some of the 1,000 apps designed for the iPad HERE.
So, overall, it looks to me like the iPads have it – bring them on!