iPads – all teachers should have one

(there will be an ongoing series of posts regarding iPads in education – this is the first of many articles to come)

iPads. You see them everywhere, used by pretty much all sorts of people; business users are checking the Sydney Morning Herald on the train; a child whimsey painting the next digital masterpiece; university students glued to the ominous glow of their screens as they don’t write lecture notes; cats swatting virtual flies. You’ve seen the Apple ads.

At university, my mathematics tutor demonstrates the practical uses of her own iPad in the classroom. She shows us a drawing app tailored for a lesson regarding shape recognition through real world objects – students annotate the photos live. Another app allows students to write their working out of math problems on the screen and have it play back the process as both the writing and their voices can be recorded. There are apps on formula, quizzes of multiplication, groups of and problem solving. And that’s just on the subject of maths. This tutor speaks out of passion – she’s not trying to sell the iPad, she simply recognises good teaching tools and utilises them to their full potential. As for the iPad it happens to be a very versatile tool.

During my time as a practicing teacher, I have already used mine to do the following:
– Take photos of students’ works then as a class critique their work in a constructive way with the photos;
– Read interactive stories complete with video, animation and sound;
– Play some YouTube clips and view photos with ease, including zooming in and out;
– Record video and play them back;
– Use specific education apps to teach about certain concepts (musical note recognition, handwriting)

And what I would love to do in the future is to teach simple mechanics of physics via Angry Birds 😉

There are of course personal benefits of owning an iPad but as you can see, the purchase can easily justify it for your ‘professional educational needs’. As far as the ATO is concerned, your iPad equates to a laptop which means you can claim it as a tax deduction.

I’ll close with a Sydney Morning Herald link regarding successful iPad trials in a Sydney Public School.

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