iPad Class Experience part 1

Tomorrow, a friend/colleague of mine (Bart Boelen) is joining me during my classes geography/ICT. We’re about to embark on a voyage to teach with the help of iPads! I’m very curious what it will be like. I’ve read a great deal about the educational uses of the iPad, but never integrated them in my own lessons, due to lack of budget for the devices. Now with Bart’s help, I get the chance to try it out!

Where did this plan come from?

A couple of months ago, Bart called me to ask if he could do an internship at my school (K12 – 12-18 year olds). The reason was some sort of project his university (Teacher Education) was starting up. The goal was to ‘keep in touch’ with the real workplace, in this case the classroom, where his students eventually end up. So in order to keep his classes up-to-date, he’s coming over to get a taste of reality. So after some thinking we decided to experiment with iPads. Since we are both avid iPad fans, we thought it a good idea to implement the devices in a genuine classroom project, with real 15 year olds engaging with the tablets.

What do we have in mind?

The whole idea is to let the students work out a presentation about a country and its tourism capabilities. It’s part of the curriculum of geography in Belgium to let the students learn about the different forms of tourism and what the consequences are on the local community. So last term we talked about it, looked in on some locations to get an idea of what is important to know and now it’s their turn to do some research about a country. They will work in teams of 4 students and have to look up some information about the designated country. First of some typical questions like “Where is country X located”, “are the typical the geographical features”, “How about the climate in country X”, etc. This in order for them to get a good idea of what the country looks like. Then they must investigate what the touristic possibilities are and what they would do on an imaginary vacation. In the end they must present their findings to the class. This can be a classic keynote, a movie, a website, etc. Something they feel comfortable doing.

Why an iPad?

We decided to use an iPad, because it’s a device of the future. More and more tablets are being sold and used in the daily course of our life. So why not in education? Why don’t we decide to equip our students with a tablet and let them interact with it? At the moment, iPad integration if very low in Belgium, in education I mean. More and more people are buying them, but I don’t know of any school that uses them on a large scale throughout the classes. This project is an investigation of the possibilities and limitations of an iPad. What can be done and what can’t? Well, an investigation on a limited scale. But during these two weeks I hope to glimpse the future of education.

To be continued!

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