What can my iPad do? Do I really need my teacher if I have an iPad to teach me? These are frequently asked questions both by students and parents. They are also two very valid questions. The first question is one that has taken my students and I a whole year to answer. One of my students put it this way, “your iPad can’t do anything without you doing something to it.” With that said, the class began to think about what they can do with the iPad to enhance their learning experience. I really think the last sentence hold some key words, “enhance the learning experience.”
Here are some examples of ways my students have enhanced their learning experience with an iPad this year. We have been able to go paperless using the app Showbie. With Showbie, I the teacher was able to send out customized lessons to students to work on and they could send me back the work in progress or finished product. The students would use the iPad to make short videos to document learning and they would use other apps like Pic Collage and Educareations to produce work documentation and upload to their Showbie digital portfolio. The best part of showbie as a teacher is that I could leave voice notes, send the individual students a text and even upload supplemental materials for students. I could do all of this from my own iPad. For the students having one place to store their work was powerful for them to see their learning progression and depth of knowledge they have gained this year. The simple answer to what can my iPad do is: the iPad can only do what you want it to. If you limit the way you implement it, then you will limit the things it can do. If you go beyond just using apps, then you open a whole new door to what the iPad will provide as a learning tool.
To answer the question about needing a teacher if the iPad is available is a big Yes And………….. If the teacher simple puts the iPad in a student’s hand and then walks away, the iPad will not do the teaching. A teacher will always be needed to help foster creativity. With the iPad technology at their fingertips, they become the creator, the questioner and the leader of their learning journey. It is sometimes all about discovery and the power of questioning that shapes learning. The iPad is the device that allows students to create and make learning personal and unique.