Here’s one problem with laptops and computers inside of the classroom: they take up far too much space. In elementary schools, kids aren’t going to want to sit at their desks with a giant MacBook in front of them. Even the specifically designed computers for young kids may seem threatening. Also, a laptop might come with unnecessary software that K-12 students might not need. For instance, is any average student going to use iMovie? Probably the worst thing about laptops for younger students is the price. What parents are going to want to buy their kids a $1,000 laptop for second grade?
Thankfully, Apple’s iPad (and other tablets for that matter) exists!!
It doesn’t even matter what generation of iPad it is. Whether the first, second, or new, the iPad will do the trick for those younger kids who want to be electronically savvy. The size of the tablet is relatively small; it can even fit inside the little hands of a small kid. Because the screen does not sit straight up, and instead lays flat on whatever surface, it will never get in the way of learning or be a noticeable distraction. That way, at any time, teachers would be able to share lessons with the kids through their iPads. The kids would look down and the material for that day’s class could potentially already be pre-loaded onto the screen. This in no way is detracting from their learnng experience — it’s actually adding to it.
With an iPad you can….
Choose what kind of software you want. It comes automatically with Apple’s easy-to-use apps: Messages, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Maps, YouTube, Videos, Contacts, Game Center, iTunes, Newsstand, FaceTime, Camera, Photo Booth, and of course, the App Store itself. These are all pretty handy and would certainly be used by older students in middle school and high school. Elementary school students might find a way to use them eventually. Whether or not they find a way to use them, there are plenty of other apps to download that can be used in the classroom.
For all of these reasons, the iPad is a steal. For less than half the price of a regular laptop, you can get the new iPad. An iPad 2 will cost you $400 and the original iPad is around $300 on secondary markets (it can be purchased refurbished from the Apple outlet). K-12 students aren’t going to need the latest and greatest technology, so just a regular iPad will do the job. When you reach the university level, an iPad 2 will do the same job that a regular iPad did in high school. Both of these combined will cost you less than a high-end laptop does. One might make the argument that there are cheaper laptops on the market than $700. While this may be true, you’re also not getting all the perks of the iPad from an educational perspective.
How the iPad has helped my college experience…
Let me explain how the iPad has helped my college experience. For some reason, even though we’re required to own laptops at college, half of my professors don’t allow us to use them. For one, people use them for other things besides note taking…if a student is taking a boring class, of course they’re going to go on Facebook. Even if they are just taking notes, however, professors still consider laptops a distraction, because of the non-stop clicking of the keys. Since I got my iPad, I haven’t had this problem.
Why would I pay attention when I have a whole bundle of websites at my disposal?
When I’m on my laptop in class, I’m only taking notes and exploring the Twitter-verse. Of course, the note taking is only 10% of the time in class. Why would I pay attention when I have a whole bundle of websites at my disposal? With my iPad, I sit in class and follow along with their PowerPoint (using Safari) on my screen while occasionally switching over to my Evernote application to keep track of important information. Why is it that an iPad is helping me pay attention in class, as opposed to the laptop that I’m required to have? I can’t actually put my finger on it, but other iPad-bearing students have shared similar experiences with me. I don’t question it – I just know that I have better notes now that my iPad comes to class with me instead of my MacBook.