The iPad and education

By Rachel Hawkins

The world of mass media is changing every day. With the announcement last week from Steve Jobs about the highly anticipated iPad, many journalists have started asking themselves, “What will this do to our industry?” While I have found myself asking the same question, I have also been asking what this new device will do to the other program I’m in involved in at Baker, education.

See, I’m a secondary education and mass media major. In a nutshell, I want to be a high school journalism teacher. The creation of the iPad has the possibility to change the media world, but it may also change education as well.

Baker University’s education department prides itself on teaching future teachers on how to engage students. In one of my classes now, we’ve learned about how students now don’t read as much as they did in the 1970s or ’80s.  A study done by the Literacy Company found that “in a class of 20 students, few if any teachers can find even 5 minutes of time in a day to devote to reading with each student.” That’s just sad!

Now, once the iPad was announced by Jobs, I began to think of how it could be used in a classroom. Like a Kindle, you can read books on it. My journalism students would be able to read the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Kansas City star while sitting in their desks. If school districts were to buy iPad’s for their students, or have a classroom set of them available, students might be more inclined to finish the reading assignment or be engaged. A blog written by a “wired educator” stressed that “the iPad will certainly add excitement to the classroom, and will become a powerful tool in education,” and I can’t agree more. Schools and teachers across the country need to take the initiative to engage their students in reading, and the iPad might be just the way to do that.

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~ by dbozmedia on February 2, 2010.

One Response to “The iPad and education”

  1. I don’t know if the iPad will be able to make students “more inclined to finish the reading assignments,” but it definitely will help students become more engaged in reading—mostly because it will allow students ready access to material that interests them. An iPad and a wireless connection is all I would need to while away the afternoon perusing blogs, reading movie reviews, and smiling at humorously poignant “Calvin and Hobbes” strips. The iPad itself is not the solution in encouraging kids to read; rather, a step in the right direction might be incorporating material that is more relevant to students, even if that means just finding material that was written in the twentieth century.

    The iPad will become old news in as short a time as it will take a student to use one as an impromptu lunch tray. The excitement and novelty will wear off, and all that will be left to do is pay Apple the five-dollar fee to upgrade the software in order to keep everything working. If the iPad is just going to be used as the world’s shiniest textbook, its more interesting functions and search capabilities being blocked or severely limited by school policies, it will pass quite quickly into the storeroom of irrelevance. The iPad is pretty awesome. If only schools could keep up.

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