There’s an App for That! Will Digital Immigrants use Digital Devices such as the iPad in Education?
A digital native is an individual that was born after the introduction of digital technology, which includes people who were born in the 70s or later. Digital immigrants are individuals who were born before the existence of digital technology. Which one are you and how does that affect the way you teach? Well, according to Marc Prensky, Digital Immigrant teachers who did not grow up with cell phones, hypertext, and downloaded music, do not understand why students of today cannot learn the same way that they did. They feel that if they were taught through lecture or “tell-test” instruction, why can’t these digital natives? 1 As educators, we are going to have to realize that these students never had to live a day without digital technology and for that reason, they think differently and therefore, learn differently. So let’s consider using digital devices, such as the iPad, in our classrooms.
[wikipop search=”iPad”]Apple’s iPad[/wikipop] is an electronic device used for audio and visual media which includes books, movies, music, games, and web content. Within 80 days of the release of the original iPad, 3 million were sold; 15 million were sold by the release of the [wikipop]iPad 2[/wikipop] in March of 201123 . Since the inception of the iPad there have been many applications (apps) and websites developed that can assist educators engage our students in and outside of the classrooms.
Let’s start with the “heart” of many of our courses, the textbook. Textbooks are now accessible on computers, Kindle’s, Nook’s, and of course, on the iPad. Electronic books are portable, cheaper, and easy to access. Students and educators now have immediate internet access to up-to-the-minute news that can be easily related to material being covered in class. The iPad provides free access to reputable news sources and websites such as [wikipop]New York Times[/wikipop], [wikipop]USA Today[/wikipop], [wikipop]NPR[/wikipop], and cable news networks. A website that has gained popularity in classrooms around the world is called pollanywhere.com, a free tool that can be used to ask students a question and receive immediate feedback. This can be used to determine if students have mastered a concept or skill or if you, the educator, have more work to do.
In addition to having instant access to many helpful sites on the World Wide Web, there have been many educational apps created for the iPad. The free Graphing Calculator 3D app, which can be used for mathematical functions, is similar to the [wikipop search=”TI-83 series”]TI-83 calculator[/wikipop]. Additional apps focused on improving math skills includes Math Drills, Math Flash Cards, and Math Bingo. Foreign language educators might benefit from apps such as Free Spanish tutor, Free German tutor, or Language translator. Medical students at the University of Minnesota, Stanford, University of California-Irvine, and the University of Central Florida are all using iPads for medical education due to the portability and significant amount of applications it offers.4 Watch the video. There are apps or websites that you can access using the iPad for every discipline and you can find them by searching for iPad apps for education.
So now that you know that there are many ways to use the iPad for educational purposes, how will you proceed? Will you start incorporating digital devices and technology into your courses, or will you stick with “what you know?”
- Marc Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf [↩]
- Apple Sells Three Million iPads in 80 Days”. June 22, 2010. http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/06/22ipad.html. Retrieved April 4, 2011. [↩]
- “Apple Launches iPad 2”. March 2, 2011. http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/03/02ipad.html. Retrieved April 4, 2011. [↩]
- “University of Minnesota medical students using the iPad for medical education”. April 4, 1011. http://www.imedicalapps.com/2011/04/university-minnesota-medical-students-ipad-learning-medical-education/ Retrieved April 4, 2011. [↩]
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