As we've seen in countless articles on this site, the iPad is an incredibly useful teaching tool that is ideal for helping children to engage with a number of topics they could otherwise have found boring. The intuitive, interactive, tactile and colourful nature of the iPad means that learning about Space can be as fun as playing computer games at home, or that learning maths can become a fun quiz.
But all of these things are 'secondary' uses for the iPad in a way. Here you are using the iPad to teach children about other topics… how about using the iPad to teach them about… the iPad?
The Importance of Technology and Entrepreneurialism
Back when I was at school there was zero encouragement for anyone who was interested in becoming an entrepreneur or who wanted to start programming. Even as recently as that, the general view was that earning money should mean working for someone else in a suit or maybe in a Tesco uniform.
This is somewhat odd really when you think about how easy it is for someone to set up their own online business these days, and when you think about how important technology is to almost everything we do today. Today there is simply no excuse for leaving these topics out of the classroom – more and more people are going online to earn their keep, things like Kickstarter and Shapeways make it possible for anyone to get access to funding and manufacturing processes, and even if you try and immigrate to another country then technology skills are one of the things that will help you be successful.
Using the iPad
So how do you use the iPad to encourage this kind of learning and interest?
Here are some suggestions:
Tell Them a Story: The story of Apple harkens back all the way to the beginning of commercial computing when the Apple 2 first demonstrated that there was a market for 'personal PCs'. This whole story is a fascinating one – and if you include details like Steve Jobs' rivalry with Microsoft (and later Android), his dismissal from Apple, his time at Pixar and his triumphant return, then it's one that will entertain and inspire children of any age.
Take it Apart: Not literally – this would get you into trouble with the school budget team – but by taking apart the iPad by explaining how it works, you can help explain something that might otherwise seem magical and show a class that they too could maybe build
Programming: Programming is an incredibly marketable skill these days and fantastic for brain development. While it's complicated for younger audiences, building a basic app for the Apple can be a satisfying and engaging introduction to an incredibly useful tool.
Business: Whether you look at one of the many apps on the iTunes store, or at one of the many iPad accessories being developed on Kickstarter, the iPad and iPhone are magnets for small startups and entrepreneurs. How were are these things promoted? Who's the target audience? Are they cost effective to produce? What might you do differently? Tell your class the story of Summly and how Nick D'Aloisio made his millions when he was just a little older than them, and you might just create a generation of programmers and entrepreneurs.
Go for it: So kickstart your adventurous journey in the world of inventions by using the iPad to let your imagination run wild, after all: the world is your oyster.
About the author:
Nancy Baker is a freelance blogger and tech enthusiast who is currently writing for wantbuyletbuy.com, which offers many accessories like cases for iPhones and iPads. She enjoys participating in graffiti and other art related competitions. To know more about her experiences, follow her on Twitter and Google+.