Are iPads useful in the classroom?

Image courtesy of Mindshift

In many schools throughout California, the traditional textbook has been replaced with the latest gadget from Apple. That’s right, the iPad.

Presido Middle School has taken part of a study where 400 of their students are using iPads to learn algebra.

Jeannetta Mitchell, a teacher at Presido Middle School, likes what she sees so far. “This is not a magic wand,” she says.  “This just makes it more fun for them to learn.”

With the iPad, students have access to videos where math problems are explained step-by-step. Mitchell says, “That’s one of the best things about the iPad opposed to the book. It shows how to solve. The textbook just has the answers, no explanations of how to get there.”

Students may enjoy using the iPad, but have their grades improved?

When the study was first initiated, overall test scores for the class using the iPad were lower than those using the textbook.  However, for Mitchell, she has found the key in getting the best out of the iPad. “I’ve used the videos in class a lot more and I’ve noticed that the grades have gotten a lot better,” she says.  Mitchell continues to believe the iPad is an effective tool for learning.

There’s no doubt that technology can improve our lives; however, is the iPad slowly replacing the role of a teacher? A teacher’s job is to help students understand how to find the answer, not encourage them to get help from their iPad. Are the basics of using a dictionary, thesaurus, or reading a map still taught or used in the classroom? Or has the convenience of the iPad replaced all of those basic skills?

By: Alexa Deacon

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