Monday, January 13, 2014

Observations about iPads

Observations of iPads

Starting this 1:1 adventure, I was very open minded about the two devices.  After using the iPads for 18 weeks I hate to admit that I have very much fallen in love with the iPads.  One of my biggest fears with the iPads was the fact that there was no keyboard.  In the end this seemed more of a problem for me and less of a problem for my students.  On two different occasions my students had to type class essays.  They seemed to be able to type just as fast on the iPad as they could on a traditional keyboard.  This problem seems more generational than anything.  My current students have grown up using touch screens and texting on touch screens.  This is practically second nature to them now.

My second fear was one of them breaking.  This was also one of the biggest fears of my students.  At the end of 18 weeks all made it through with no damage.  To the shagrin of administrators, some had been dropped.  For 30 devices with no protective cases being handled by 120-130 students each day I feel that's pretty impressive.

I can honestly say that the iPad was initially a hassle.  The biggest challenge was getting around the lack of Flash, which my online textbook uses.  Once I was able to get over this hurdle I can  honestly say I fell in love with this device.  Below is a list of my favorite apps:
  • Google Drive
  • GMail
  • 3D Brain - Allows students to manipulate a human brain.  They can move and tilt the brain highlight specific area which then gives them a definition of what that piece does.
  • Puffin Browser - Allows for the use of flash on Apple devices
  • Socrative - Assessment App
  • NearPod - Assessment App
  • iMovie - Used for producing movies and movie trailers.
Overall I feel these devices accomplished everything I set out to do with my students.  I believe that there is so much more left to be explored with these devices and overall are a great choice when looking to move 1:1.  One of my biggest regrets is that this is not a true 1:1 program yet.  I feel like there was so much more that I could have done with these devices if the students where able to take them home each night.  I would have really like to start using iTunesU and iBooks.  iTunesU truly seems intriguing and could easily be used as an LMS.

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