Ipads in the classroom are here to stay….? Pros and Cons

In addition to MBUSD, LAUSD will be providing 660,000 students with ipads this upcoming year. After hearing some complaints from parents of my students this year, I thought it was best to examine the pros and cons of ipads.

Below is a list of some pros and cons that I have found in my research and conversations with parents. I think whether we like it or not, we must accept that technology will continue to play a bigger role in the classroom and on a positive note will ultimately prepare them for life after high school.

Pros

  1. Motivates students- increases student engagement and excites students.
  2. Educational apps- the ipad allows students to use a variety of educational apps.
  3. E-textbooks- the ipad can reduce the need for textbooks and/or transporting textbooks back and forth. Also, textbook versions are more current and save trees!
  4. Communication tool- ipads allow teachers to create polls or ask questions that all students can answer even those who are shy about raising their hand in class. Communication is instant. Also message boards can be set up that convey class information and allow students to post questions and comments about reading or other topics in class.
  5. Research- The ipads provide an easy, assessable way to conduct research by providing access to podcasts, videos, magazines, newspapers and other mediums.
  6. Helpful for students with disabilities- there are many apps to help students with cognitive disabilities as well as apps to help students with communication skills.

Cons

  1. Expensive- ipads are expensive. One possibility to reduce the cost would be to use ipad minis instead.
  2. Do not support flash- a lot of content in schools and websites for kids use flash but ipads do not support adobe flash or javascript.
  3. Distraction- although the ipads are a great educational resource, students may abuse the for social or recreational purposes while in school.
  4. Lack of multitasking- ipads do not allow multiple windows to be open at once so this can be a negative but also allow students to focus on one thing at a time.
  5. Lack of uniformity in use among teachers- Some teachers post the homework and assignments online and some are more old-fashioned , so students have to find a way to keep track and record all their assignments in one place.  For less organized students this can be challenging.
  6. More time consuming to take notes- some students find it more time consuming to have to type their notes than write them.