More and more schools are jumping on-board with Apple and adopting iPads for use in the classroom. Last week, the company announced the introduction of iBooks2, which will undoubtedly spur new, creative uses for the tablets in the classroom.
In my attempt to better understand the power of the tablet and eBooks in the classroom, I recently asked a teacher friend what she thought about the Apple announcement. Here’s what she said:
The plus side?
“I love the idea of interactive books. For example, right now on my Kindle, the program will read the words to me and look up words I don’t know. That type of technology is great for struggling readers, particularly in their early development. The introduction of iBooks has the long term potential to change a child’s relationship with reading for the better.”
The down side?
“In the long run it cuts down on costs, but schools also need to be mindful that they’ll have to put up the initial cost to purchase the iPads. They’ll also have to replace them when they get lost or stolen, or when they become obsolete in a few years time. That is extremely costly.”
While these are interesting comments, they are certainly not surprising. From what I’ve seen so far, it seems that although eBook prices won’t empty pockets, funding for the tablets will continue to remain a problem for public schools. Fortunately, with the introduction of sites like DonorsChoose.org, and programs like SAF00, I’m certain more teachers/students will be granted the opportunity to experience these technologies before the masses. But what about the rest?
One might forecast that the adoption of eBooks and tablets in the classroom will mimic that of the computer. In 1986, 25% of high schools used PCs for college and career guidance (K-8 schools were buying mostly Apple II and Macintosh computers, and high schools were buying DOS). Fast forward to 2008, and it was reported that 100% of public schools had more than one instructional computers with Internet access.
Twenty two years is a long time for computers to become a “norm” in the classroom. Will adoption be that slow for eBooks and tablets? Check out the “innovation adoption cycle” graph I’ve used to explain how I think it will play out.
What are your thoughts on the tablet in the classroom? Is there a place for it, and when?