“I get that iPads can help students learn and it can open up new opportunities to learn. But at -(school name removed by Edudemic editor, Jeff) – the teachers get their own iPad. they play games all throughout class and give us huge packets to work on. They don’t even teach us the material, they just say here’s your work do it by next class. Then they give us hard tests and wonder why no one get’s good grades on them… They get paid to be here and do nothing, I’m forced to come and do more work then them. Our school would be better off without iPads.”
Obviously, the article hit a nerve for me. When I read it, I was disappointed, but not surprised. It shows us an example not of poor execution of iPads, but rather simply, poor teaching practices. This teacher does exactly what not to do as an iPad teacher. He is an embarassment to our profession. Although this case doesn't necessarily talk about a 1:1 iPad classroom, its arguments can be used for the misuse of iPad roll outs.
Rolling out iPads to a whole class, let alone a whole school, is a huge undertaking. If teachers are not “on board” with the rollout, then using iPads in their classrooms will simply not work. Not only do teachers need to have a passion for integrating technology into their classes, they will need to be properly trained and taught how to use them to their best potential. This training should be a gradual, yet also an ongoing process where the teachers are constantly learning about all the new possibilities an iPad can bring. Having said that, I don't believe that learning “along with” the students will work either; teachers will need to become semi-experts of the apps they are teaching and incorporating before using them in class. It is in not dissimilar to any school subject: if students are aware that their teacher is not entirely an expert in the subject, they might not fully respect him, and may not take his teaching seriously. Teachers will need to know how to answer their students' questions on how to both use and trouble-shoot the iPads.
My own school is soon rolling out a half set of iPad minis. All teachers in the school will have the opportunity to sign out the iPads for a couple weeks at a time. My colleague Matt will be primarily responsible for educating the teachers on how to best use these shiny new toys. I will aide him in his aim to make these iPads become a great tool for education, and not just a gaming machine (what I know most of our students probably use their own iPads for). I look forward to sharing our experiences on this blog soon.
I get that not every teacher out there will be as passionate about integrating technology, specifically iPads, into their teaching as myself. However, my argument would be that technology is all around us at all times. Students are experiencing technology whether their teachers like it or not. If teachers are unwilling to get on the tech bandwagon, they will become less able to relate with the tech generation that is their students.