Education is adaptive. Change has to start somewhere, and it is now. If not for change, then we would still be stuck digging through oversized encyclopaedias and copying from a blackboard. Our lives are always changing as the world shifts to an increasingly technologically orientated world. The iPad initiative offers the change that, if successful, can combine education with technology in a fully integrated way.
Lessons can flow together at the touch of a fingertip and a swipe of the screen. E-lockers can become less of a daunting task (which is what we all
want) when one can simply bring up documents on the screen within the lesson, email it, share it, project it to the board via Airservers; all in that same
moment ‐something that one could not do (unless you were permanently in one of the IT suites) until now...
The apps on offer are seemingly endless. Being a user of an iPad at school, the apps transcend the gaming stereotypes of 'Temple Run' and the popular addictive 'Candy Crush Saga'. Professional apps such as Microsoft OneNote enable you to create a filing system entirely at your disposal. Work can be stored ‘forever’ thanks to its impressive ability to hold documents in The Cloud and sync with your personal computer at home. Gone are the days where those random sheets of paper that you forgot to stick in go astray and get you into trouble. Business blossoms where there’s a demand and as a result there has been an explosion in educational apps‐ whether you are after guides for algebra, or whole novels for English, the app store has it.
Arguably apps can achieve what a textbook cannot and represent information in an easy‐to‐understand, interactive and visual way; a huge bonus for the visual learner.
True, the iPad lacks the power that standard conventional desktop PCs offer. The Apple A5 dual‐ core processor does not stand a chance against the Intel i5 processors that the school's Dell towers boast. However, with up to 10 hours battery life, the iPad boasts the portability that only a tablet can offer. More desktop computers would be a dream but even if the money were there, there is not enough room in the college to house them all. Similarly, an increase in the ordinary laptops would not ease the life of a student. While they are useful in some circumstances and do offer one answer to technological portability, most students can agree with the fact that with all the big old' textbooks and various bits and pieces we have to carry around, a laptop would be too heavy by far. The iPad is light as a feather in comparison.
iPads come at a cost, but the school has been saving for just such an occasion to extend its digital provision. Many are worried that the funding of such a large scale project has removed money that could be spent on improving the school and our education, when in fact the opposite is true. While the initial cost of the iPad initiative sounds painful, the net results are generally positive financially. Teachers often spend well over the margin of £30,000 a year collectively (ouch) on photocopying and printing resources; ‐ with the implementation of E‐ lockers and the integration between teachers, students and iPads in lessons, this number could be reduced significantly and save trees in the process (for all you eco‐warriors out there).
Over the 4 year period in which this project will be implemented, the initial cost will be a distant memory with the savings racking up ‐ aided by the possible existence of schemes where students have the option to actually purchase their iPad at a significantly reduced cost. It's not all doom and gloom
We have a chance to revolutionize education. Mr Kempson described it as a "huge learning curve" and only time will tell how the creases will be ironed out and the iPad become part of our normal procedures. Infrastructure and a good support network is key to success.
The future is one of uncertainty, but at the current rate of change, whole businesses may run from tablet technology in the near future and so this project
prepares us for entering the technologically advanced corporate world.
In essence, iPads are just 'tools' for education, like paint is to an artist. It all boils down to the nature of tools ‐ that they are entirely dependent on how they are utilized. Given paint, one can create a masterpiece or smear it all over the carpet, your choice. The same issues are true for both PCs and laptops alike. It is not innovation for the sake of it, but the result of education thinking outside the box in our modern world.
Article by Jordan Tapp - Year 13
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