Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last Call for Comments!

As the iPad project (and the school year) winds down, it's a good time to give some last reflections on the BLog.  We ended up with a total of 52 iPads split into groups with about 1/2  directly/individually in teacher hands, about 40% directly in the hands of students and about 10% with administrators.  3 of the iPads have 3G capability, but my opinion on that is that it's easier and less costly to finishing making all of our buildings wireless. We aren't there quite yet, but we're getting closer.  Two of the iPads are the new version, which is exciting (the new version is clearly faster, has a camera, and has a few unique features that make it even more splendid than the first).  There are really 3 questions to answer.  First, is it worth the money ($500 each)?  Secondly, if you could exchange it for a laptop (netbook/mini laptop is about the equivalent) would you rather have that or the ipad?  Third, long term, what are your thoughts about upkeep (are they sturdy enough) and usability?  Thanks to everyone who has participated in the project!


Anonymous said...

Is it worth the money ($500 each)? Yes, but I feel it is better used in a special needs or special education setting.

If you could exchange it for a laptop (netbook/mini laptop is about the equivalent) would you rather have that or the ipad? I would prefer to have a netbook because it has more functions than the iPad. The iPad is good for light productivity, but is limited.

What are your thoughts about upkeep (are they sturdy enough) and usability? I am still very cautious about placing them in students' hands just for the fact that they seem very fragile, unless we encase them in 1/4" rubber covers. Repairs are also a concern. Unlike laptops and netbooks it seems like tech staff would have a difficult time repairing the iPad.

All said and done the iPad is a powerful tool that definatly has a place in education. We would really need to evaluate how and where we place them.


Melanie Broxterman said...

Is it worth the money ($500 each)? Yes, it well worth the money. I used this iPad both in my special ed classroom as well as with the KDG students. It is much cheaper than a communication device (although limited) and I found that this is one of the few items (tech or toys) that ALL my students could utilize INDEPENDENTLY. I also LOVED the portability. I could take it to KDG, work with a few students here and there and not worry about lugging a awkward laptop.

If you could exchange it for a laptop (netbook/mini laptop is about the equivalent) would you rather have that or the ipad?
Yes and no, I would exchange some of my current computer tech within my classroom with an iPad. I still need a desktop or laptop for students who need alternative access methods. However, the portability and app selection, having the iPad being accessible to all my students is nice.

What are your thoughts about upkeep (are they sturdy enough) and usability?
I have been thinking about the logistics of having multiple iPads within a classroom. I think that they would be much more time consuming to update and download apps to keep them current. Not sure how that would look, teacher responsible or tech. I also wondered about if our tech dept could even "work" on the iPads or would that have to be an "APPLE" person. I worry that the iPads are fragile. I have not dropped mine nor have a I had a kid throw it across the room (which has happened with other assistive tech in my classroom, so it durability is uncertain. I envision the iPads as a center or remedial/extension activities. I could see a classroom having a few filled with reading apps and a few filled with math apps. The students could then rotate having iPad time reinforcing those skills.

In conclusion, I have truly enjoyed my time with the iPad. I was amazed at how well my students (and own kids) learned how to navigate through the apps. Several of my students are using the AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) apps everyday. The "read along" books have also been a hit. I also liked that I was able to find "seasonal" apps that I could use whole group. In addition, I have networked with several special educators to see how they are utilizing them (and iPods) within the classroom (amazing stuff!). I feel as though I am officially a "tech geek" and as I now get excited when I find an article or app that I really like. And I have converted my hubby as our iPad 2 should be delivered this week!

Thanks for this opportunity!!

Renita said...

I like the iPad and have found many uses for it in accomplishing daily tasks. While I believe it is worth the money for me, I am not ready to say that it would be worth the money for students. At the elementary level, it should not replace laptops until the Flash issue is resolved. There are too many Flash products in use right now. The apps that support Flash only show Flash videos; there are no touch features available yet. I have also been using a $300 tablet pc with touch screen capabilities and it has been reliable in supporting more educational applications (for free) than what I found available on the iPad. There are great apps available for early learners. As far as upkeep, they seem to have few technical issues, however apps could be costly. I don't know how updates would be handled. It seems that it would have to be done on each iPad.

celine@potatohillfarm said...


Is this worth the money? Yes, definitely. I believe, however, that money should first be spent on teachers. I realize this is separate funding, but this is my opinion.
I liked the ipad in the classroom. I could not use the wireless in my classroom, so we journaled. the ipad is very student friendly. I was able to encourage reluctant writers to journal at all times. Theft is an issue. The ipad cord was taken from my class. Good news, though-- a student brought one in from home and donated it!.
I would recommend this to anyone for a classroom experience! The students love it!

Anonymous said...

Is it worth the money? I don't have a say on spending, but I know having it in the classroom is a great investment, especially in Kindergarten. Very user friendly. The students are comfortable using the apps.
Would I exchange it for a laptop? IN A MINUTE!!!! Again, easier for my student to use the touch screen than the touch pad.
Upkeep? Sturdy? I know my students had some drops and falls with it, and it seemed fine.
Annie Anglin

Melissa France said...

I have throughly enjoyed and I am very fortunate and glad to have been a part of this project. I have found the IPad to be a positive addition to my teaching and learning. Since using the IPad, I have started to think, do I really need my laptop. I have thought about getting rid of my laptop at home, although I have decided I still need it for pictures, videos, flash capability, etc. But since getting the IPad, I rarely use my laptop. The IPad is just so much more convenient. It is always with me (except for when I sleep and have to charge it!). I love all of the free apps. They have been a great addition to my teaching. My students have loved using this cool new device. I have loved the fact that it is so portable, has a great battery life, very user friendly, and pretty durable. I have also used it for note taking at conferences, as well as for observations ( I had a grad student, and it was so easy to use for observations.) If I had my choice, I would choose the IPad over a laptop.....especially for small group work and for the students that I work with.

L. Holliday said...

Is it worth the money ($500 each)? I think the potential of this technology and the enthusiastic reactions to them by the students makes them a valuable tool for education. The creative and productive Apps as well as organizational tools continue to improve and become more relevant to the educational setting.
If you could exchange it for a laptop (netbook/mini laptop is about the equivalent) would you rather have that or the ipad? Right now, I would have to say that I would still prefer a laptop. The interactive aspect of the iPad compared to the laptop creates some unique opportunities (i.e. the virtual potter’s wheel to create ceramic vessels with the touch of your fingers), but it is also limiting as far as more traditional creative or productive activities used to assess learning (text documents, slide shows, etc.). I hope that future iPads have a USB port to allow us to upload image and text files. Although maybe I just need to adapt to using more on line digital file storage that I could then open, edit, and use on the iPad.
Third, long term, what are your thoughts about upkeep (are they sturdy enough) and usability? I think they seem sturdy. I was not worried about high school students using them. I do think that teachers would benefit from a set organizational strategy for maintaining a classroom set, if we were issued one. I can’t remember which website or blog I looked at, but a science teacher had come up with a storage/ charging station for his iPads that seemed to make it seem easy and possible to store and keep track of all of them, clean them, and charge them. Updating Apps would have to become routine. I think it is all possible and very exciting!

Nancy Reed and Sarah Osmond said...

I recently used a couple of new apps for speech and language therapy at the middle school.

ArticPix is a wonderful tool for any speech therapist... epescially at the elementary and middle school level and when working with the MD population. It has every sound, in all positions of words, and has recording capabilities. The group of boys that I used the app with enjoyed recording their voices and then hearing themselves saying the target words played back. As a group we then judged their sound production for accuracy.

It was really great to have the visual support of pictures as well as auditory modeling without having to suffle and organize numerous articulation cards!

Nancy Reed and Sarah Osmond said...

I have also downlaoded and used a couple apps for social groups and students with autism working on pragmatic skills.

EveryDay HD (Functional Skills System)
Hidden Curriculum-Adult

The Functional skills system is a wonderful program that can be used with any student that needs/benefits from visual support (as many of the students with autism and in the MD classrooms DO!) It has short video clips of people acting out the skills required for greetings, introductions, starting a conversation, maintianing a topic, ending a conversation etc. These are all skills that are targeted for many of my kids on their IEP goals.

The Emotions app is also a great FREE resource that has pictures of children showing different emotions. Reading other's body language and facial expressions can sometimes be a challenge to individual's autism. I used to app to show the pictures and covered up what emotion the child was feeling with a post it. Then each group member had to guess the emotion and give his reasoning. We talked about the expression that can be shown with the eyes, mouth, and body language that can give clues to what emotion the child may be feeling.

L. Holliday said...

I just came across another list of educator Websites and Apps in the May 2011 issue of IB World magazine which also includes a Daniel Pink article about Creativity: Why Knowledge is No Longer Equals Power, which I highly recommend!
The article: Learning Without Borders- asked IB World Schools and digital experts for the best of the web. The result is 20 sites (and four apps) every teacher should bookmark.
You can find it here:

Maggie Jones said...

I had the ipad for the summer and although I did not have the opportunity to use it with my Kindergarten students, I did allow my 3 year old daughter and 8 year old niece to use some of the educational apps! The first thing that amazed me was how easily my 3 year old could navigate and use the apps! She loved PBS kids, Easy writer, pocketphonics, read me stories, see touch learn, and preschool mm. After just a few times using the Ipad, she was independent in most of her use!

The way I would see the ipad as a practicle use in the classroom for Kindergarten would be to use it for tutoring, a reward for free time, or as a center. I took a course in Technology in Special Education this summer and read about the benefits of the use of ipads and computers for all students as a supplement to thier curriculum. I would LOVE to have the opportunity to use an Ipad in the classroom!
To answer the questions of are they worth the money. I would say yes. My husband was happy this summer because he had our personal laptop almost to himself. Aside from my masters coursework, I used the ipad for everything else.

As for upkeep, my 3 year old managed it well and learned to take care of it. She knew that if she did not, she could not play with it. I would have concerns about germs on them if the classroom was sharing and want a safe way to clean them between uses.