We’re constantly worrying about how much time our children spend in front of screens. However when it comes to the classroom, technologies such as iPads can have a fantastic impact on learning.
Yet educational expert and teacher of 30 years, Marie Cullen, believes they aren’t being integrated into classrooms as much as they could be. Cullen recently made the switch from textbook to tech when she noticed that her tech-savvy students achieved greater results when engaged in app-led learning.
But she feels frustrated that schools expect parents to spend money on iPads that aren’t being used. She believes schools are failing their students by neglecting to utilise quality programs designed for iPads which bolster a child’s abilities and confidence.
Speaking to The Motherish, Cullen said, "I think teachers try to use as much technology as they can. But from my experience (and it does vary from school to school), how much teacher's choose to integrate technology depends on their outlook and willingness."
Cullen believes the reason teachers have difficulties in integrating such technology is due to the difficulty to find good quality apps for iPads. "I’ve seen a kindergarten class with absolute rubbishy apps on it. So, in my opinion they’re just time-wasters. They have no educational value. They're then used perhaps as a babysitter, a bit of a toy," she shared.
"We’ve had iPads around for the best part of five years but they’re under-utilised as a resource because there aren’t good quality materials to go on it," Cullen continued.
The second reason for their poor integration, Cullen suggests, is a result of lack of leadership direction within the schools.
Where iPads are being utilised, Cullen suggests they can be used more effectively. "It’s no use having, say a textbook being put in PDF form. You’re not making use of it. It’s not interactive. It’s not engaging all the features that an iPad has," Cullen said.
Where there is a benefit in the use of iPads is the fact that they are multi-sensory. "You can put in voice, you can put in video that way; so they’re hearing, they’re seeing. They can touch as well. So, it integrates some of those senses. Which will utilise the learning process or how to learn. It engages children and you can also accelerate the process," she said.
"I think the iPad is an absolutely wonderful too for children. There’s so much that could be made of it. The work is there; the programs are out there. They just need to be put together in a form that they can utilise," Cullen concludes.
You can see more from Marie on http://lessonbuzz.com.au/blog/
Do you feel like iPads are being used to their full potential in your child's school?