This past school year I have had the opportunity to work with two amazing ESL teachers on a 1:1 iPad pilot in their middle and high school classrooms. The goal of this pilot is to encourage students to learn in a digital, paperless environment while producing projects to be included in their personal digital portfolios.
As many iPad users already know, the iPad is a single user device and it works best in a 1:1 where one student is assigned his or her own iPad. The iPad was never meant to be a shared device because there is no login like there is on a traditional desktop or laptop. This has been a point of contention in the pilot in that it seems that we are not getting “bang for our buck” with only 40 students having access to these iPads.
It is obvious to me and many other iPad users that there is a shift occurring in the business world, in education and in life in general. People do everything with their “device,” whatever that device may be. Some sort of device is with most indivdiuals on a daily basis. Whether it be a Blackberry that one is sending a text message from or an iPhone that one is scanning an important document to and sending along to his or her boss…everyone is connected. Everyone has some device that allows them to improve his or her productivity in life, in school or in the workplace.
School administrators and even corporate executives have taken note of the benefits of using a device to increase and improve productivity. This is why some firms hand out iPads to their employees and many school districts have begun 1:1 initiatives where ALL students have iPads or Chromebooks. The vision is that students can keep all of their class notebooks saved on ONE device, create movies and presentations on ONE device, email all of their teachers from ONE device and then go home with that device or access their work on that ONE device from “the cloud.”
The fact is, most adults have some device or tool that they use daily, nightly and weekly to stay connected, to be productive, to learn and to create. Why not at least prepare our students for the future that is already upon us?