8 million and counting: are Educators ready for iPads?

Educators are using iPads in classrooms around the world.

Educators are using iPads in classrooms around the world.

An apple a day keeps boredom away – an Apple iPad that is! More and more schools are using the devices to help students understand difficult concepts, access material and incorporate videos and animations into classes. However, learning with technology requires a different, transformed approach. Since iPad adoption rates are growing at staggering speeds, both teachers and instructional technologists better start evolving their lessons now—and fast.

It makes sense that iPads are becoming more popular with students and teachers. Which is cooler: reading about history in a textbook or taking a virtual tour of a pyramid in Egypt? Exactly.

Surveys have found that as many as 35 percent of K – 12 teachers use tablets in their classrooms, up from 20 percent last year. The iPad is the most popular tablet in education. Just to show you how big it has become, take a look at these numbers:

  • 1.5 million – the number of tablets sold to U.S. educators in 2011
  • 4.5 million – the number of iPads sold to U.S. educators in 2012
  • 8 million – the number of iPads sold to educators internationally in 2012
  • 1 billion – the number of downloads in Apple’s education app store

So simple, even a kindergartner can use it
iPad adoption is not just a high-school phenomenon.  In K – 12, even very young students are using iPads. Roy. B Kelly Elementary School in Lockport, New York was the first region in New York to adopt an iPad program. In 2010, all of their kindergartners got iPads. Now all of their K – 3 students have them. Fourth graders will next year.

The schools’ principal, Marianne Currie-Hall, said that since adopting iPads, there’s been a big jump in student performance. “It’s transforming instruction,” she said. “I’ve got kindergarteners who email me their work.”  Way to get students ready for the future work life! And this is just one of hundreds of schools that now have an iPad program like this one.

5 ways to use iPads in the classroom
If your school is planning on using iPads in your classroom, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Develop a digital curriculum: iTunes U helps teachers curate and create digital curriculum. Use it to build interactive lessons and get students involved.
  2. Electronic textbooks and video: Remember lugging around heavy textbooks? Why not use iBooks to lighten the load.
  3. Video – get to know your web camera. Video-recorded mini-lessons are integral to flipped classroom approach.
  4. Security: It’s important to block applications that aren’t appropriate for kids. Whitelisting can also be used to control what sites kids can visit.
  5. Polling: You can use apps to monitor how well your students are learning. Some teachers have students take a poll mid-lecture to see how much they understand.

While iPads may be the way of the future in education, it’s a big task for teachers to redesign all of their lessons, instructions and exercises to be based on the tablet. The change is not going to happen overnight, but if schools don’t start planning now, they’re going to find themselves as relevant as an abacus.

What do you think about using iPads in classrooms? Please share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page!

 

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.