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Can the iPad reach children that other tech can't reach?

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Started by Karen Spencer 26 Apr 2011 8:48pm () Replies (28)

Hi all,

Loving the sharing of different apps:-)

You may have already seen this article on how iPads are opening up the world to some hard-to-reach students - iPadding into an Autistic World (NZ Educational Review) - but if not, it's worth a quick read.

When I see the way most children work so intuitively with the iPad, I can see it might offer real advantages, due to its size, portability, range of apps, and, of course, its haptic nature (love that word!)

My question is: have you seen evidence of the way the iPad may be engaging students in new ways, in your own classrooms and families? Can you share an example?


  • Marielle Lange (View all users posts) 26 Apr 2011 11:28pm ()

    This made me think of this article, computers as a condom, by Seymour Papert.

  • Marielle Lange (View all users posts) 26 Apr 2011 11:37pm ()

    On haptic, a question worth considering is the contribution of the app store. Could it be that it benefitted the special needs market more than the touch interface?

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 26 Apr 2011 11:53pm ()

    I have recently returned from ADE Institute and was surprised in the large percentage of educators who were using their iPads as their primary computing device. I haven't made that leap myself yet and am not sure that I want to. Maybe it comes down to necessity to really adopt the tech. I have other alternatives so I prefer to use them.

    Out of choice which device would children use for which purpose?

  • Marielle Lange (View all users posts) 26 Apr 2011 11:55pm ()

    Then another question to ask is whether touch or haptic makes it any easier to target higher order thinking skills.

    So far, many "education" apps on the store tend to fall in one of these two categories (1) entertainment and engagement and (2) drill and practice on the other hand. These two types or apps server special needs populations particularly well. They can do very well with young kids too. A device is the most patient of all teachers. 

    But what about secondary education? What about using devices to support the teaching of more advanced skills? Does touch unlock more potential for education than keyboard interactivity. Would tangible interfaces, which is not only haptic but also graspable, the shiftable being the most famous example.

    Tangible environments can allow for the teaching of very high order thinking, no doubt about that. If you have ever played serious board games like settlers of Catlan or Puerto Rico, you are well aware that your neurons are fully engaged. For a fantastic example in education check out this ted talk by John Hunter on the World Peace Game. But how much is the naturality of the interface a key factor? How much is the context / interaction? Could they reach the same heights with a purely online settings. There is some projects that show promises, like games for social change. In particular, Evoke, by the institute for the future. There is a great video on the Colbert Report (ignore the early banter)

    World Peace Game, Evoke, serious board games. What they do is provide game mechanics that allow for rich game plays and letting the users / players determine the game, as a function of their skills and personal preferences. How can you integrate this type of program within a curriculum? Evaluate students against standards?

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 27 Apr 2011 10:49am ()

    I wouldn't want to get hung up on the interface as being vital here…more a combinaton of the touch screen, the range of apps, the size, the portability etc of the device. Interesting links, Marielle.

    But Allanah, you're right - it's horses for courses with all these things - the app, the device etc. The learning intentions - curriculum, pedagogy - should drive the choice:-) And I believe Australia has invested large sums in the use of the iPad (I certainly wrote about it in a recent assignment somewhere….) What the students would choose to use is a great question, too.

  • Jo Fothergill (View all users posts) 26 May 2011 7:21am ()

    My students choose the iPad first - but it annoys them that they can't do all their online activities on it (flash etc - I haven't tried the flash app yet). I don't see the iPad during the school day - it's in constant use. We did the CensusAtSchool yesterday and I had kids on the iTouch, iPhone and iPad all submitting their questions.

    I think they love the portability of it - they can curl up around it - everyone has the same view - laptops are more lineal.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 26 May 2011 7:12pm ()

    I have trained my students to say, "Good morning Allanah. Can I please play on the iPad/iPod". Initially they just went straight for the iPad!

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 08 Jun 2011 10:02am ()

    Just read an interesting article today, Change the Future of Special Education? There’s an App for That http://ht.ly/5bSsg tweeted by Ian Williams where students in a small class of 5 have access to an iPad in a trial programme at Encino's Westmark School in Los Angeles.

    "They learn fractions through brightly colored, jungle themed pie charts. They study the periodic table of elements in an interactive, visually rich interface. They ask their iPads how to spell and define words. They practice cursive writing through a tracing app and follow along in their Mr. Popper's Penguins books as their iPads read the text aloud."

    Interestingly enough, the programme targets, students with “learning differences” such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and comprehension difficulties, where the teacher is personalising the iPads to cater for individual needs.

    Tess Smile

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 08 Jun 2011 10:15am ()

    I think that's the real potential of using iPads in classrooms in that, in a 1-1 programme each child can really have their learning personaised. With the cost of iPads this can become more of a reality.

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 04 Jul 2011 11:00am ()

    Just adding Allanah's bookmark to this thread:

    iPad Assistive Technology/Disability Round-Up: some emerging examples of how the iPad is being used to support special educational needs.

    nā Karen


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 27 Jul 2011 11:32am ()

    Some neat ideas found in the following link - for anyone considering or tialing the use of iPads in the classroom.

    21 steps for planning, preparing, implementing and evaluating iPads

    State of Victoria (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) 2010


    Tess Smile

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 08 Aug 2011 2:01pm ()

    More discussion and debate about:

    • the pros and cons of using iPads in the classroom
    • vital elements to consider when purchasing iPads for education (from Marielle Lange)

    as well as

    • recent developments at Orewa College

     can be found in the ICT PD blog @ /pg/blog/owner/group:27633

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