Unit 2: Benefits of iPad Integration
Now that you know what an iPad is and how to use it, it is time to discover the answer to the question most of you are asking yourself… why? Why should you integrate iPads into your classrooms? Why do you need to learn how to integrate iPads into your classroom? Can’t you just hand an iPad to a student and call it integration?
NO! iPads are wonderful teaching tools when integrated properly into the classroom. In this unit, we are going to go over the whys you are all asking yourself. We are going to dig deeper into the the benefits of iPad integration.
Learning Objective: The learners will be able to describe in detail at least three benefits of using iPads in the classroom.
Benefits of Technology Integration
Within the past few years, the use of technology is skyrocketed, especially in schools. A lot of teachers and administrators have been reluctant to join the movement, and understandably so. People are afraid of the unknown. Using technology in the classroom has been uncharted territory for so long. A lot of technology integration is trial and error and that scares a lot of teachers. Why put in the effort to change what is not broken? Why create new lessons and activities that integrate technology when you have been teaching without it for so long and doing fine? Other than the push from some administrators who are strongly encouraging technology integration, there are numerous benefits that come along with it.
Some of the major benefits of technology integration are reviewed below:
Student Engagement – One of the major benefits of integrating technology into the classroom is student engagement. Students LOVE to use technology. Most are using and have been using these devices at home for most of their lives. They are comfortable with the technologies and enjoy using them, whatever the reason. When using technology, the students are more engaged and interested in what they are doing.
Foster 21st Century Skills – Another benefit of integrating technology is when using these devices, the students are learning skills they will need in the future. It is hard to think of any job that is not affected by technology is some way. The students will need to know how to use and work with these devices in the future, so the more exposure they have to them, the better!
Collaboration – Technologies provide an enhanced ability to collaborate with each other. There are numerous programs that allow students to create products and projects together. One example is Google Docs. In this program, multiple students can contribute to a collaborative assignment at the same time. The students can be working on the same project on their own computers. It allows students to work together in groups a lot easier than before. Back then, in order for students to create a collaborative assignment on the computer, all students needed to be huddled around one computer while one person typed everything out. Now all students can add their own ideas into the project from their own personal computers at the same time.
Accommodations – With the use of technology, teachers are able to differentiate instruction a lot easier. One example is the ability for students to use text-to-speech. A student could use this if they are at a lower reading level and need to have the text on screen read aloud to them. Another example is a speech-to-text option for students who have a hard time getting their ideas down on paper. The students can speak their ideas aloud and the computer will transform the words spoken into text.
Connection to Experts – With the use of technology, the ability to easily connect with real-world experts increases dramatically. Instead of sending a letter to an expert, students can email or video chat experts in all different fields.
Mix-it-up – When integrating technology into the classroom, you are able to use numerous methods of teaching and assessing material. Different students learn in different ways and with the use of technology, the students are able to participate in ways they learn best! If they learn best through reading, they can read an article; if they learn best by listing, they can listen to a podcast; if they learn best by doing, they can participate in an interactive activity. The options are near limitless. When integrating technology, teachers can also allow students to present their material in the format of their choice. They can make a PowerPoint, short video, newspaper article, etc. The use of technology creates the ability to mix-it-up and allows students to use their strengths and interests to guide them through their learning.
Okay, so you’re convinced that technology integration is actually not so bad after all; it actually has some pretty awesome benefits! Now to address your next question – why iPads? Why can you not just use computers or laptops for your technology integration. What is so great about an iPad. Now, of course you can use other technologies and still reap most of the same benefits, however, there are added benefits for using iPads.
Mobility – One of the largest benefits that an iPad has over other technologies is its mobility. Its small size and light weight makes it easy to carry around and take your learning anywhere. If the students want to do a project and record or take pictures of different things around the school, they can do so. If the students are working in a different room, the iPads can easily be taken with them. If you have flexible seating in your classroom, the students are not limited when using the iPads. Also with the iPad, you are not constrained by wires and pugs that need to be attached to the wall.
Transition Time – The start up time on iPads is faster than those of computer and laptops. The device quickly and easily turns on and off for student use. Computers typically need to boot up and reload every time it is reopened. iPads make for quicker transition times in the classroom.
Apps – The availability of apps is another reason why it is beneficial to use iPads for technology integration in your classroom. There are apps for every subject and topic you could imagine. There are apps that use the internet and apps that do not, so if your school is having technical difficulties with the internet, the students can still utilize the iPads. When students are on the apps, you know that the students are doing what is expected of them. There are a lot of websites that contain more information and games/activities than what you would like your students to be on. With apps centering around one core topic, you know that your students are focused on the right content.
Watch the following videos to supplement your instruction on the benefits of iPad integration:
Now it is time to reflect back on what you have learned in this unit. It is essential to know the importance of iPad integration before you can fully commit to incorporating it into your classroom. In the discussion area provided for this unit, please reflect back on the benefits of iPad integration. Choose three benefits in particular that you think will affect you and your classroom most. Make it personal – use specific examples of how integrating iPads in your classroom will benefit you and your students.
Also, do not forget to add questions, comments, ideas, thoughts, and any interesting facts you may have to the course corkboard!
Now that you know how iPad integration will benefit your classroom, it is time to learn how to correctly integrate it. In the next unit, you will learn how to choose appropriate apps for your students and their learning needs.