Technology taking over the classroom?

By Nick LaRosa
September 25, 2011

Even though many of us may not currently own iPads, the truth is that they are the future of education and learning. Much as laptops are now common learning tools for students of all ages, the Apple iPad may be able to offer the same benefits to education in the future.

Look at the Webb School, located in Knoxville, Tn., for example. For the 2011-2012 school year, they made it mandatory for all students in grades four through 12 to have iPads. Yes, students as young as 9- years- old will be ditching textbooks for iPads.

Their decision to choose the iPad over other tablets, netbooks and laptops really shows how revolutionary the iPad is, both for students and teachers who are just beginning to learn how technology will enhance the classroom. As the Webb School states, “the iPad is our preferred choice to engage our students in collaborative, creative learning and prepare them for their lives in the 21st century.”

Schools have gradually gone from chalkboards to SMART boards. Now web-enabled devices, ones that are entirely mobile, will be the way we interact and learn.

In a time when mobile devices are the norm, classrooms will be soon become a place where students not only learn but interact as well.

In addition to the Webb School, Stanford University’s School of Medicine took things to a new level in 2010 by making it mandatory for first-year students to use the app iAnnotate. Clearly, schools are taking advantage of the brilliant technology by Apple and are completely transforming the way students learn.

You may wonder how social media and the internet plays a role in all of this. There may not be a super proof way to guarantee that students stay clear of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter but the Webb School, for example, has already blocked those sites from students.

While many believe social networking to have a negative effect on classroom learning, there are debates about how it fits into lesson plans. If iPad apps can replace textbooks, why can’t Twitter conversations tie into the classroom discussions established by the teacher? Many students affected by rules mandating iPads in the classroom are young but older students in high school and college may see social media as a useful way to discuss assignments.

Whether using your iPad to research a topic or Twitter to answer a question, the technologies that we have today may make the classroom a more informed place. If the students of today are going to grow up in a digital world, why not teach them digitally?

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Nick LaRosa

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