The iPad's Use in High Schools?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Techhie, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #1
    The past few years have been host to a growing number of outcries for educational reform, especially among public schools still enforcing pre-tech boom policies. Now that many, if not the majority of high school textbooks are available in some form online, shouldn't we be looking at the prospect of replacing traditional (and environmentally destructive) educational media? Using digital textbooks in either PDF or the new iBook format promises to be an environmentally sound, if not widely adopted standard.

    In addition to the most obvious benefit of saving paper by cutting down on text book production, an application enabling handwriting recognition with the help of a stylus promises to eliminate the need for notebook paper. Most HS students already use a "planner" or schedule of some sort to keep track of assignments, so why not let them go all-digital? Recording of lectures for later use? No problem. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

    At my high school, policies forbid the use of any electronic device not provided by the district. While this is understandable to the person who sees constant abuse in the form of texting and cell phone gaming, these policies are a major hindrance to the modernization of public education. How is this reflective of the situation in a work environment, much less the college experience that high school is supposedly preparing me for? When an adult needs to know the definition of a word, does he run to a dictionary or Google first?

    I'm not trying to become catalyst to a technological revolution. Back in the 90s, people thought that PDAs were going to take off among high school students, but now that the devices can do so much more, why has this trend died down? Because a few students have created the stereotype of technology as a distraction, rather than a tool? There are those of us who imagine a world devoid of paper shortage due to poor funding, a world in which ancient policies don't allow bureaucracy to trump common sense. Of course, transitions like this can't happen overnight, and buying an iPad is obviously not something every student can afford to do. Although this kind of technology is expensive today, past experiences tell us that it will be little more than two years before it becomes available on nearly every budget. Technology has found its place in mostly every other industry, why not this one? In an age where information is free and ridiculously easy to access, teaching kids to regurgitate vocabulary words is not what the public education system need to be doing.

    How am I going to adapt to a new world, when my first 18 years of life in a classroom has taught me little more about computers than how to format a memo in MS Word? The same curriculum used on my grandfather should not remain unchanged 50 years later. How do we expect to compete on a global platform if the educational process is blind to the most influential factor of change in the modern world? This may seem to divert from the original "iPad" argument, however the issue here must be recognized as device-blind. It wouldn't have mattered what device was being discussed, the obsolescence of our system is obvious to even the most naive international onlooker.

    If high schools are to be regarded as places where students are being truly prepared, integration of technology beyond half-assed attempts have to be implemented, else the ways of stagnant tradition doom the future of human progress.
     
  2. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #2
    So um, why an ipad, specifically?

    And as for textbooks, I tend to like my books. I can mark in them. I can reference them while working on the computer. I can lend them out. I can even sell them, if I want to. There is no DRM attached to them.

    And as for using the ipad to record lectures, not possible unless you don't intend to use it for anything else during class. Remember, it's crippled by design to only do one thing at a time.
     
  3. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #3
    Most high school-level textbooks are not protected by DRM, and are provided in PDF format. You are still free to mark in them digitally, if you so choose. The iPad just happens to be the first convenient device that something like this could potentially work with, beyond regular PDAs and eBook readers.
     
  4. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Quite honestly, many college professor I've had don't allow computers in the classroom. Computers aren't necessary to learn, in fact, they can be a major hinderance for students. Most often, when I glance at someone else's computer screen during class, its not on a word document for note taking, its on a social networking, gaming site, etc (which is largely reflective of what most people at my previous jobs have used their work computers for as well).


    I have a feeling you'll make do, just like the rest of us did. To be honest, quite a few majors in college never use the computer for any more than formating a MS Word document and looking up information on the interwebs.


    To be honest, high school as preparation for anything is kind of a joke. It won't prepare you for college (AP classes come closest, but even those have proven easier than even community college courses I've taken) and it definitely won't prepare you for the real world. High school is very different from college and the real world, but I don't think its because of technology; technology use in many majors is pretty similar to high school, but living on your own, managing your own time, professors/bosses being far less forgiving than high school teachers, no one telling you what to do, etc. are what make college so much different. If it matters, college, for the most part, doesn't seem to actually prepare you for the real world either.


    I think eventually we'll see more technology integrated into curriculums, but its going to take a while and it will probably have to hit colleges before it makes it to high school. Many college students I know are resistant to using computers to read textbooks, but as things like the iPad make it easier, more and more might come around. Personally, I prefer to have a physical book in front of me and if I were to use a digital book, it would be on a laptop not an iPad (I need access to Excel and Word at all times).
     
  5. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #5
    Just because some abuse the access to technology in the classroom doesn't mean that all of us will, and it is unfair to stereotype students as such. Paint me as unrealistic, but isn't keeping our lives devoid of the possibility of distraction telling us that it will always be like that? Children are very susceptible to soaking up frivolous policies and thinking they are the rules of the overlord. It's like being kept away from alcohol as a teenager, you watch them go to Europe on vacation and they get wasted because they are "finally free." Don't you think something similar is happening in that college class, because they haven't been brought up with the computers as useful devices?



    If people "made do" with all of the policies that need to be changed just because they yielded a barely working system, there would be no progressivism.

    It doesn't have to be that way.
     
  6. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Welcome to the real world, where generalizing is rampant and decisions are often based upon those generalizations; not everyone at my office spent lots of time visiting frivolous websites on their computer, but that certainly didn't keep the sites from being blocked.

    Most high school students have enough problems focusing without access to the internet, their cellphone, and other technologies, I can't imagine that allowing students free access to those services in class on an iPad would result in increased focus for your average student.

    I understand there is a lot of value in using technology in the classroom, I just don't think integrating something like the iPad into every course for every student is the best way to go about doing that. I'm much more in favor of instructor controlled technology as well as part-time use of technology in courses; I think full-time access to something like an iPad would serve to distract a lot of college students, let alone high school students.

    No, its just an attempt to keep further distractions from interrupting class time. High school courses are filled with distractions without access to technological devices.

    You're obviously a very bright student and I think you're overestimating the prowess of your less intelligent and more easily distracted peers to focus their attention away from the electronic device in front of them. Having spent plenty of time with the "average" students in what was supposedly a good high school, I definitely wouldn't trust an average student to divert their attention from their iPad to the instructor very quickly. In fact, even as someone who was above average grade-wise in high school (though I never truly applied myself and rarely studied), I doubt if I would have ever looked up at the teacher once an iPad was put on my desk.

    No, I don't think that. I think a lot of classes are inherently boring and as such lead college students to use technology to avoid that boredom. A lot of members of the younger generations (of which I am a member) lack the ability to focus through boredom or to even sit through it without diverting their attention to some electronic device, often the only way to prevent that from happening is to not allow the use of those devices.

    Quite honestly, the system has worked fairly well in terms of technology for all of the individuals I've known. I don't know anyone who has had a problem moving to college level technology use after high school; the area where I've witnessed more problems is from college to the real world. I'd like to see more courses in the basic use of programs like Word and Excel, as well as searching academic databases offered in high school, but I don't think this requires the full integration of something like the iPad into every classroom. I'd also like to see technology better integrated into advanced high school programs and courses, but again, I don't think integrating something like the iPad into the curriculum of your average high school student will greatly increase learning outcomes.

    You're right, it doesn't and the use of technology in the classroom could be improved, but how do you suppose a high school teach you things like living with roommates, paying your bills, and time management? High school will probably never adequately prepare you for college, because you'll never have the same amount of responsibility in high school as you do in college.
     
  7. IntheNet macrumors regular

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    #7
    Is this the correct forum to discuss the evil iPad and its capitalistic manufacturer profiting off the masses? ;)

    I believe iPad lacks stylus and passing on to parents the cost burden of an iPad for school would be a significant impediment to its adoption! Kids can't even afford a calculator today! Moreover, I don't think textbook manufacturers would allow the digital switch yet... not saying its not a good idea just the reality of textbook lobby being powerful for schools...
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

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    #8
    This would seem to argue directly against aggressive implementation of technology in the classroom... that the technology one integrates will be obsolete by the time the student is a sophomore in college anyways...

    As a counter-argument, one could argue that one gets more mileage out of studying quantum physics, thermodynamics, cellular and molecular biology, cognitive neuroscience (or for that matter, calculus and proper English composition), and lots of other things that can be taught well without a lot of expensive technology spending, and which have a much better demonstrated track-record as underpinnings of long-term technological growth and progress.

    (Besides, which, FFS, it's an iPad. It doesn't take more than 30 seconds to learn how to use it... does your school really need to teach you to use one?)
     
  9. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Im a bit iffy on using the ipad in high schools, first off I would want to see cost savings shown for implementation, secondly I don't think the ipad is going to have a closed enough platform to allow teachers to control what their students are doing with them during class. This is a mass consumption device and it will be used as one. I think it might be more of a distraction than its helping.

    In a learning environment I am more impressed with what a teacher can do with a piece of chalk and a good lecture than what tech is implemented in the classroom. I have been in college for quite some time and as more technology gets used it seems that the relationship between student and teacher gets more abstracted.
     
  10. paddy macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    No, it's an expensive piece of technology which is likely to be broken by many teenagers. Parents have enough to do to fund a child's education without spending €500 per iPad, per child every 2-3 years. The solution to helping kids adapt to technology is not making them buy one of these each, that can be done through classes in a computer lab.
     
  11. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #11
    Why the iPad? It is one of the most expensive, proprietary, and crippled products on the market to use in the classroom.

    And like Zombie said, it isn't closed enough for use in the classroom either. Teachers would be incredibly limited with what they could teach using it, and they would also have little control over students fooling around on it during class.

    The book is already a perfectly designed object to use in high school and college. I can bring it anywhere with me, it doesn't have to have a battery to be used, I can mark in it, I can leave bookmarks and post-its wherever I want, I can dog-ear the pages if I want. If I lose a book, it only costs around $15 for me to buy a new one rather than $500 for the iPad.

    And on laptops being used in college classroms: They are more of a hindrance than an aid. They are an instant distraction for everyone (everyone uses the internet at least once during class, no matter what they say).

    I'm going to be a TA this coming fall teaching undergraduate sections of history courses once a week. I know there won't be anything I can do about laptop policy since it won't be my course entirely, but if I were teaching my own course where I had control over the syllabus, I would require documentation of some sort of learning disability or physical disability (broken arm, etc...) before allowing students to use a laptop in class. Besides being a distraction, laptops encourage bad note-taking (writing down every single word in a lecture).

    I also think the OP is overstating his need to be "prepared" for technology in college. You'll learn what you need while you're in college. As a history major, I didn't need any in-depth training on using a computer for my major. It was mostly formatting word documents (took a separate course on that to help - a computer related course was required for all majors) and using the internet so search through digitized primary and secondary sources.

    And this may be the only time I will ever say this, but InTheNet is right. The iPad is expensive. Who is going to pay for it? And the textbook manufacturers have a lot of power, especially when you get to the college level. Some are already moving to the digital format, but there is a lot of money in textbook publishing. That industry is going to resist any mass change to digital.
     
  12. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #12
    I think you're being blinded by the recent launch and all the glitz that accompanied it. Stepping back, you'd see that it's just a basic tool no different from your laptop or etc. There is no need to single the ipad out as the savior of the high school classroom. That's just good marketing that you're buying into.

    It's not a stereotype. It's a common observation. I was a student in high school, before laptops were common. I went to college for my BA and my MFA. I now teach at the collegiate level. The laptop in the classroom is 25% productivity, basically MS Word (the program you learned so well in high school) for note taking, and then 75% facebook and IM.
     
  13. bobertoq macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    My (public) school district pays for MacBooks for everyone in their high schools, iBooks for everyone in their middle schools, and MacBooks for 5th and 6th graders. Plus every school has entire computer labs filled with old iMacs and the tech rooms are filled with new iMacs.

    And then they cancel woods and metal classes due to lack of funds... They do however charge $100 for "insurance" at the beginning of each year (you don't have to pay if you can't afford it, though). But they charge a lot for repairs still....
     
  14. OutThere macrumors 603

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    #14
    I'll say it: if we'd had iPads in class in high school I would have spent every possible minute facebooking or playing games.

    I sit in the back of most of my college classes, watching every one of the kids with a laptop feebly try to take notes in between facebook, wikipedia, stumbleupon and FreeTetris.

    How about spending more money on teacher salaries to attract better teachers?
     
  15. rhett7660 macrumors G4

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    #15
    And not laying them off because of budget cuts. I agree 100%.
     
  16. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #16
    They already have those pads in schools you can get them for a nickel from a dispenser in the girls restroom.
     
  17. it5five macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Not all of us live in wealthy areas of town and attend schools that are able to buy equipment like that thanks to rich parents who pay higher property taxes, thus funneling more money to the school.

    You think all public schools are the same? Leave your safe little bubble where public schools can afford to buy overpriced laptops for the students and go check out a high school in a lower income area. There is such a disgusting disparity of funding for public schools thanks to the way they are funded (through local property taxes). Your school has such an abundance of money that they are able to waste it on Apple laptops when some schools can't even afford textbooks published in the last decade.

    At my high school, if you wanted to use a computer you went to the library, where there were about 16 old Dells. The only Apple computers my school had were the old colorful iMacs in a few of the classrooms for the teachers to use. There were not computers in the classrooms for student use. I graduated 4 years ago, for a reference point. I went to a pretty nice high school.
     
  18. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    I wasn't suggesting the implimentation of an "iPad for each student"-type campaign, more or less the dismantlement of polices preventing students from using devices in the classroom that could aid in the learning process. I know that a majority of students (based on statistics, anyway) would most likely abuse these new rules, but as many collegiate boards have learned, overly restrictive policies do not go well with students, and many of them spend time they could be using on their studies instead figuring out clever solutions to "circumnavigate the system". A team of my fellow classmates and I one spent an entire weekend hanging around my high school campus using sniffers to break the WEP key.

    I want to make it known that this argument is completely irrelevant to the type of device being discussed. The iPad is an expensive, restrictive, and proprietary piece of hardware, and admittedly not appropriate for most high school kids. The main issue here isn't necessarily the fact that my teacher would take my iPad away should I pull it out during class, but rather the public education system's failure to acknowledge the bigger picture. Currently the system is functional, sure, but is in no way preparing students for the technologically rich world they will encounter when they leave, nor is it reflective of the constantly changing, progressive curriculum that should be being used.

    You may be the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" type, but for those of us in high school right now, the system in place is insufficient, at best.
     
  19. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    #19
    K-12 can't be compared to college; you are a legal adult in college and our society assumes that you'll have the ability to prioritize without excessive interference from faculty.

    One of the biggest roles of K-12 education is preparing you to prioritize and be responsible for yourself, and that includes enforcing rules against items which are unnecessary and/or distracting.

    I don't see how having a device in lieu of books, pencils, and attentive eyes and ears will prepare our children for the future. I grew up during an era when there was perhaps one old Mac LC in a classroom (and once I crossed the decade threshold, these turned into the first iMacs). I used a computer sparingly at home (Vanna White was not at all attractive on the original Wheel of Fortune game :p) and I had to suffer the likes of dulling pencils, heavy books, and (gasp!) a blackboard. I'm probably pretty damn well equipped to handle changing technology because my K-12 education gave me the two most important skills any productive person needs: the ability to extract principles quickly and accurately, and the ability to apply those principles quickly and accurately. You don't need any kind of device to teach that (it probably slows things down, in fact).

    If you find that your education is lacking, maybe you should look in the mirror first. If you are having trouble adapting to technology that is already so user friendly, the iPad may not be able to do much at all for you. ;)
     
  20. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    But you see, the system is acknowledging the big picture. The big picture is that you need to learn how to think without relying on technology. As much as it pains me to tell you this, Google can't actually solve all of your problems (though it is often helpful). High school and college both help to teach you critical thinking skills, something that can often be better learned in the initial stages without the crutch that is technology.

    How so? I don't see many in the 14-25 range having trouble using technology. I think, and I believe its been shown in studies, that most people in this age group adapt very well to changing technology. I don't think introducing cutting edge technology to the schools is going to significantly change any outcomes in regards to how well students are prepared to use technology in the college or workplace considering how often students have access to this technology outside of school. You seem to make this assumption that students some how live outside the real world and that these students will suddenly enter into this "real world" that contains a plethora of technology students have never seen; this couldn't be further from the truth. Many students have access to computers, computer programs, cell phones, and various other technological resources outside of school (and in many cases, at school and in the community at a place like the library).

    Its hardly insufficient, high school teaches you nearly everything about technology you need to know before entering college. I learned the basics of word and how to type in high school and that's about all I need to know to succeed as a college freshmen; the Excel, PowerPoint, QuickBooks, and Lacerte skills I have now were all acquired during college. In my first two years, I barely touched any programs other than Word and PowerPoint (other than Managerial Accounting which in which I learned a good bit of Excel).
     
  21. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #21
    If the device is irrelevant, then why is the thread titled "The iPad's Use in High Schools"?

    I'm sure you're intending well with this thread, but to me, it reeks of new toy syndrome. It just sounds like someone who bought a new toy and considers it the most amazing, revolutionary thing ever, and that it should be incorporated for others, everywhere.
     
  22. IntheNet macrumors regular

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    #22
    So why the thread title "The iPad's Use in High Schools" ?

    We need to advance core learning and traditional pedagogical practices in the classroom; the Texas School Board will soon advance updated texts in that regard and they should be promptly adopted. Information Technology does have a role to play here but simply stated school budgets are stretched to the max already; implementing any kind of iPad lesson plan or use of the iPad in instruction seems beyond all but the wealthiest districts. Far better to to teach to the text so children have a hard-copy tome to learn from.

    So why this thread? Puzzling...


    If you are using an iPad during class your teacher should remove it; it is a distraction.

    In several years perhaps tools like laptops, iPods, iPads, and digital learning will be across the board applied; they are not yet so you can't push them unless everyone has access. Cost is key. Lobby Apple to supple each school district with iPads would be a good start. You have a good idea here but cost is a significant liability...
     
  23. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    Aside from pushing for historical affirmative action that rewrites history (solely for political agendas) in textbooks, I... think... I agree... with ITN. For the first time.
     
  24. Techhie thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Because it is an Apple forum, and I figured it would get more interest/be more relevant? :p

    Besides, despite its obvious downsides, the iPad seems to be the device that would fit in best with a high school crowd (currently), because of its supposed "ease of use." I'm not saying its an ideal solution by any means, just one that adheres most to recent events, and is most available to students.



    I don't know why people assume I was suggesting the use of federal funding for an iPad "program." My argument is more or less against the policies preventing students from using them rather than fighting for a complete change in classroom operation. Yes, it is true that I think technology is underused in public schools. However, that idea is completely different than the overzealous support for the iPad I seem to be conveying.

    This is the issue here. I do not own an iPad, so it is not as if I am posting to convince people of my own selfish agenda. If I were reading a textbook on the iPad while following along with a lecture, would this be considered a distraction? If I were to take a second to type my homework on a digital schedule, would I be bothering anyone or hindering my own education? No. Sure, I may have access to the internet, provided I buy the 3G model, but surfing wouldn't be any easier than taking out my phone or shooting spitballs. Portraying the iPad as a mere source of distraction is idiotic, as I don't see the ability to use these functions on any other device (besides a kindle, or a PDA?). I have not been "blinded by marketing," I am just trying to be sensible.


    Yes, which is why it can only be implemented as a student-funded option. In no way should a curriculum itself be entirely iPad-based...a solution excluding students who are not as economically well off would be silly. I don't understand why the possibility of educational use is unacceptable. If you are in a position where you can afford to put your books on the iPad, why not? Oh, I forgot...I am a high school kid, meaning that my every thought centers around sex, explosions, and partying :rolleyes: (although...admittedly they are fun things :p)
     
  25. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Are you kidding? If the school allows you to have an iPad/laptop/whatever out on your desk during class it is significantly easier to surf the web on that device than on currently not approved devices. You have to hide your phone or do it discreetly now and can be punished if caught, if the school sanctions iPad or other device use during class, it instantly makes it significantly easier to engage in any activity the device allows (whether the school approves of that activity or not).

    In college, the teachers that allow laptops often don't allow cellphones; as you can guess, everyone surfs the web on their laptop since they're allowed to have that device out in the open, while they text in a much more discrete manner.
     

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