Below are my/our notes from Friday’s visit to Saint Andrew’s School iDiscover21c 1 to 1 iPad implementation:
The visit was coordinated by Apple, so it was also a great chance to pick their brains on both the technical aspects of iPad deployment in schools as well as broader philosophical questions about what the iPad means for education (though, of course, they wouldn’t speculate on iPad 2).
One of the most interesting observations I made while seeing 5th-12th grade classes of different disciplines work with their iPads was that the 8th graders in particular seemed much more competent at typing and manipulating objects on the iPad (without bluetooth keyboards). The 5th graders were still hunting-and-pecking on the iPad keyboards and the 10-12th graders seemed to prefer “thumb typing” with the iPads in portrait (vertical) orientation. I think that has everything to do with the technology those 13-14 year olds in 8th grade have grown with in their lifetime and they aren’t in the same transitional group as older kids. That’s also why I love teaching 8th grade.
As much of an Apple “fanboy” as I am and as much as I truly hope we do move ahead with something of an iPad implementation for our Middle School or even just a grade level (8th!), I’m far from sure about which path we’ll take. However, this whole process is making me a better teacher and parent as I weigh concepts like digital literacies. For that, I’m glad.