iPads in Education

Innovating education with technology.

Decisions should be based on facts, objectively considered. -Marvin Bower

I posted here recently my students’ reading scores.  Obviously, we are excited about them.  Student achievement and closing the achievement gap is our top priority.  School-wide, our MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress) scores are up.  

What other positive things are we seeing school-wide?  Most striking is our copy paper expenses dropped $15,000 from last year.  Our number of  copies dropped from 400,000 to just at 100,000.  Teachers are able to reduce paper and copying by using the iPads.  Many are uploading activities as a PDF to a class wiki.  Students access the wiki with iPads, complete the activity in a  PDF annotating app and then either upload to PaperPort or to the district WebDav.  School discipline referrals went from around 400 last year to around 100 this year.   The 3 high schools in our district that are using iPads also see decreases in paper usage, copying, and discipline referrals.  Obviously, something good is going on.

Clearly the iPads are making an impact at my school.  There will always be people who feel the iPads are not worth the investment, or who question the validity of them in the classroom.  I read articles and blogs daily that dismiss iPads in the classroom as a flash in the pan.  Technology changes so rapidly and it is necessary to keep up in today’s global society.  Will iPads be around in 5 years?  I have no idea.  Will there be a better technology out there for the classroom in that time?  Maybe…but if we wait until the “newest, better version” comes out, we won’t ever buy anything.  The laptop I’m typing this blog post on will be discontinued, outdated, replaced or obsolete in less than 5 years.  I guess the way I look at it is whatever the technology is it needs to be engaging and relevant to learning.  In the Stone Age, a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used in the manufacture of implements with a sharp edge, or a point, that was some serious technology!  That age lasted about 2.5 million years.  The creation of the wheel, the combustion engine and the first main frame computer were all significant technology advances.  We have to be willing to change with the times.

I have no way of knowing what the long term impact of iPads will be on education.  What I do know right now is that our school data is showing early trends of iPad success.  Behind every number in that data pool is a student with an iPad and that student has a name.  I’m not sure who would be willing to look that child in the face and tell them he or she isn’t worth the investment.  Good teaching is good teaching.  Our data is indicative that iPads in our classrooms is good teaching…on steroids!


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Comment by Dane Johnson on October 19, 2012 at 7:18am

Very encouraging...thanks for sharing!

Comment by Richard Linville on July 14, 2012 at 12:50pm

Thank you for sharing your experiences with iPads.

Comment by Kristi Meeuwse on July 14, 2012 at 11:26am


The biggest issue is having money for apps.  You have to purchase apps for each individual iPad.  That is costly.  We use Apple's Volume Purchase Program (VPP) and apps are discounted after you buy 15 I think.  Often, the discount is as much as half off.  Free apps are ok, but the best ones we've found are not free.  I wouldn't have done anything differently as far as implementation goes.  We had a few hiccups in the beginning with accessing iTunes and the App Store at school due to network blocking software.  Our school wireless had to be upgraded as well.  While those are all important issues, the results and the complete engagement of students is so worth it.  I don't think I can go back to teaching without them.  My teaching has been transformed through using them.  After 23 years of teaching, I think that says a lot. 

Comment by Richard Linville on July 14, 2012 at 9:17am
Have you seen any CONS for the iPad or anything you might have done differently?


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