iPads are selling like hotcakes at schools all across America. But, according to high school principal and Edutopia.org contributor Ben Johnson, supplying iPads to your students is just the beginning of the integration journey.
What causes anti-iPad sentiments in schools?
Johnson authored a recent article for Edutopia describing his experiences integrating iPads into his school, and it offered very helpful information for schools making the iPad adoption plunge.
He notes that soon after giving iPads to the students, his teachers fell into two groups: those who embraced the devices and their capabilities and those who did not. Johnson asked the group of non-iPad-believers why they were hesitant to use them during instruction, and they provided responses such as:
- "I don't have time to both prepare a good lesson and then figure out how to fit the technology into it."
- "I am not the iPad police and I do not want the responsibility of supervising them."
- "If the students are allowed to use their iPads, they won't listen to me."
Johnson's takeaway from these responses is that the non-users "did not trust the students, and that they did not have the skills or appropriate apps for the students to be productive with the iPads."
Reflecting on Failures to Get Everyone On-board with iPad Integration
Interestingly, Johnson attributed his teachers' anti-iPad sentiments to his own mistakes in efforts made to prepare the staff for this big technological shift. To avoid these mistakes in the future, he laid out steps to ensure teachers understand and appreciate the value of these powerful new tables:
- Govern Student Usage: Mr. Johnson is an avid proponent of giving students a wide range of freedom when using technology to learn. However, he realized that opening the spicket to full iPad internet access right off the bat may have been a mistake. Instead, he suggests gradually easing the technology restrictions back and communicating the expectations and rules for using the tablets properly.
- Select the Proper Software: If your school intends for the tablets to replace desktop/laptop computers, the proper software must be available from day one. According to Johnson, this includes a solid word processing app, spreadsheet builder, and other software designed to enhance collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
- Getting Teachers Ready To Go: Workshops and demonstrations are fantastic, but Johnson feels teachers and staff must understand how to teach with the tablets, not just how to use them.