|Flickr CC photo by madichan|
But this post concerns one major question. Hang in there with me as I explain:
Like many schools which have been in the vanguard of educational technology, we have selected powerful laptops and expensive software for classroom. We have then watched as only a portion of our staff and students really utilize more than the very basic features of the devices and applications. Growth has been gradual, but slow in terms of robust use of these powerful tools. Many teachers still profess a real need for more training with these tools. From what I understand from my friends in other schools, this is common.
The iPad presents a very different challenge and role for the instructor. The 140,000 apps that are available for the iPad are perhaps its most attractive feature. An astonishing number of these are useful or powerful tools for learning. Better yet, they are inexpensive and are relatively easy to master quickly. Consequently, specific apps can be deployed for specific courses at specific times. This allows the teacher more freedom to innovate and explore different ways to use the iPads.
But will they?
On the one hand, it seems as though selecting apps for one's own course would be strong motivation for learning the technology. Or would the range of choice and the dynamic nature of mixing and matching the apps actually work against tech integration? If the teachers did not exploit the variety and nuances of the apps, one of the great advantages of the iPad would be lost. I personally don't like the "one size fits all" of expensive application suites. But at least training for the apps can be uniform too.
I don't know how I can really know something like this before implementation.