iPads are the answer, even if they are missing a keyboard

6 Mar

Students writing as they read, jotting down notes on the text, highlighting, and bookmarking. Most teachers would respond with, “Don’t write in the book!” But if we are going to do what we need to do to meet the Common Core, we MUST be writing in the book. Or the iPad more specifically.

Personally, I believe iPads are the way of the future in English education. More and more I see the importance of reading relevant and current nonfiction and being able to annotate and interact with the text, and it seems like the iPad is going to be the best way to do this.

Apple has sold 170 million iPads and counting. The most innovative computer company in the world doesn’t stop there. Apple’s stranglehold on teens’ music/internet/social networking devices is an important focus. If schools want to connect to our students through technology, we need to meet them where they are. Knowledge and information is at the fingertips of our students at all times. iPads are simply the best option to read, annotate, search the web, and view content easily.

Netbooks. The current answer to our technology issue. Students need a way to surf the web, research, and word process in a convenient way. Convenient being a debatable term. Right now it is another thing to lug around school on top of textbooks, notebooks, and the ever-important planner. These limited computers are not the answer to what we need in an English classroom.

Now the iPad isn’t perfect, the biggest complaint about iPads being that they don’t have traditional keyboards. The keyboard is an issue for the teachers, not the students. Most of my kids will choose to type a blog post on their iPod instead of using their netbook.  And if you need more proof, here are some real-world examples where students said, “No thanks,” to keyboards.

“Students today depend upon paper too much. They don’t know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?” Principals Association, 1815

Although this quote might be slightly embellished, it is partly based on reality. Physical keyboards, like chalkboards, are moving towards the past. As much as teachers feel the need to keep them alive, they are becoming impractical. Our students just don’t like them. Teachers should help students get the chalk dust off their hands if they choose. Keyboards? Make them available, but not required.

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2 Responses to “iPads are the answer, even if they are missing a keyboard”

  1. Pam Peterson March 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Eric! Interesting timing for me to find this. Our FACS department at Valley has a little extra money and I was thinking of ordering an iPad. I don’t have a personal one, so would really appreciate any thought you may have regarding what type/size iPad would be most useful in a classroom. Are you able to display the iPad image on to the SMARTboard? Would a single iPad be useful in the classroom? Perhaps there’s something else that would be more useful rather than an iPad.? I’ll appreciate any feedback you have. Thanks! Pam
    PS Feel free to discuss with Beth Lundby, too!

    • etsanders April 2, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      I always feel like an iPad could be useful! I would rather have one in students’ hands, but there are many great tools for teachers to use as well besides just the convenience.

      There is an app called Doceri https://doceri.com/ that is a whiteboard that you control from the iPad. There are also many apps that let you control your desktop from your iPad as well.

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