Not many students of mine can afford an iPad. Matter of fact, I know only one. Her name is B and she just left my class after showing me how she is using it.
Her final words before she left… “I don’t really need notebook paper or pen ever again.”
B, mind you, is a top student. To wit, she built her own flash cards for her AP History class using a free flash card app she downloaded.
Her cards were so stupendous, I think she should think about selling the set online. (She’d made more than 240 of them based on her handwritten class notes – class notes that are, in her estimation, “oh so yesterday” because of how she can manage, arrange, organize, share evolve and connect the content all in one simple device.)
And watching her flip through these cards – they flip the same way the iPad turns pictures (i.e. the note cards have a front and a back and can be organized into sets, colors and so on) it was just mind-blowing to see what the modern-day AP student is already doing with an iPad.
She did her end-of-year report for science class (typed, with graphics, charts and pictures that, of course, the teacher required to be printed meaning that there would be no color and her aspiration to create hyperlinked references was pointless), she had her school organizer, she had things I didn’t even know existed on her tablet-top and she was using them like a kid who had been handling this type of computer technology her whole life.
Assignments, schedules, phone numbers, bookmarked websites, on and on and on and on.
I was just amazed how all-encompassing the iPad was for B already. I mean, she’s only owned the thing for 3 weeks and yet she trusts her entire academic life to the thing.
And mind you, as I said, this is not a run-of-the-mill student. B is an A student. To her, the iPad could be a toy – and it is at times. She readily admits she likes to play some of the games. (NOTE: She kicked my butt in Finger Air Hockey but I wouldda smoked her in checkers if we had time to finish the game.)
The device is not a fad and it’s not a fraud. Matter of fact, I am not sure why we are not already hearing more cries from those of us in academia to “get our students iPads”.
Simply put, they can do more than even I was ready to give them credit for.
B was a more efficient and more capable student with the iPad than she was without it. And she proved that to me.
School, and it’s inability to keep up with B, was the impediment to extended meaningful thinking and not vice versa.
For those of you who are still skeptical, I say find your way to touching an iPad this summer and contemplate the possibilities because it is people like us who are going to bring about the change we need in our schools.
From vanquishing the inane bubble tests to ridding ourselves of sanitized, one-size-fits-all textbooks to liberating our classrooms so that we can genuinely connect kids to one another, connect kids to best practices, and connect kids in a more meaningful way to their own education (and on and on and on) the iPad is genuinely an amazing device.
Skeptical? I was too. But the more I see, the more I believe this is a great classroom tool that, if wielded properly, will work wonders for kids across the nation.
Yes, I am Back on the iPad Bandwagon… and my feeling is that You Should Be, Too!