iPads are the most powerful educational technology tool available today, period. But, many teachers are not utilizing the most powerful quality of iPads in their classrooms. The quality I am speaking of is the mobility of iPads. Too often, teachers ask students to simply search the internet with their iPads. This is equivalent to asking a Corvette owner to solely use their sports car to drop their kids off at school, two blocks from their home. Both of these scenarios are equally boring and wasteful! iPads are expensive, and many schools are currently trading them in for cheaper Chromebooks because their staff hasn't provided justification for the continued purchase of more expensive iPads. The rationale behind school districts' decisions is logical- why use iPads to surf the web, when much cheaper Chromebooks do the same thing?
When it comes down to it, teachers must provide a good reason for the continued purchase of iPads. If this doesn't happen, the cheaper Chromebook will win the hearts and minds of school administrators. So, what is a good reason for keeping iPads in the classroom, over Chromebooks? Mobility is one reason, as previously mentioned. The inherent creative potential of iPads is another reason.
How does a teacher utilize the mobile and creative properties of iPads? Here are a few suggestions:
Post QR codes around the room that connect students to primary sources when scanned by an iPad QR Scanner app.
Have students create storyboards and scripts purposed for the recording of a short video. After recording the video, ask students to edit and polish their video using iMovie.
Task students with creating 360 degree image of a particular site outdoors using an app such as Sphere. This suggestion may lend well to Science and Geography classes.
Have students synthesize the work they do in one app with another app. Students could annotate an image using the Skitch app, save that image to their camera roll, and upload that image to iMovie to be included in a video-report on a certain issue.
When it comes to justifying iPad purchases to administrators, teachers should bring some of their students creative work to their next technology committee meeting. After seeing incredibly creative and original work created by students, it will be harder for administrators to deny the fact that iPads are essential tools for 21st century learners.