Not only does the iPad offer advanced, innovative technology, but students love learning on it because it increases motivation, facilitates achievement and allows for easy collaboration.
There are an increasing number of schools and districts that are purchasing iPads for use in their classrooms. Weighing just over a pound and with a battery life of eight to ten hours, the iPad offers more portability and less start-up time than laptops or netbooks. Furthermore, the iPad's screen size allows for more flexibility than even the industry’s leading smartphones when using the Internet and inputting data. Although all these technical features are appealing to most any tech savvy student, the iPad's true value is apparent in its ability to engage and motivate students and even faculty members.
A Valuable Tool for Learning
A study undertaken on behalf of The Information And Communications Technology Association – a community of educators, consultants, school leaders, technologists and policy makers – assessed the impact of iPad use on student's motivation, quality of work, achievement, collaboration and other relevant factors. The study found that there was a “significant and very positive impact on learning and teaching," and that the benefits would be reflected in student achievement and attainment. It is believed that this academic success can be attributed to both innovative methods of teaching and learning, which are further facilitated by the ease of access to information and learning tools such as the Internet, e-books and apps. The iPad provides students with:
- Readily Available Resources – Tablets like the iPad put a wealth of learning resources at your fingertips. From eBooks to topical discussion groups to reference sites, students have an endless supply of tools at their disposal.
- Effective Organization Tools – In managing time while pursuing an online degree, staying on top of tasks, deadlines and scheduling is of high importance. Fortunately, it becomes significantly more manageable with the wide range of available productivity and calendar apps.
- Useful Collaboration Methods – Students hoping to receive an online education often question the ability to collaborate with other students from a distance. The iPad offers the ability to:
- Host interactive introductions to meet fellow classmates and present ideas collectively through VoiceThread
- Hold collaborative meetings to discuss projects or study before exams with Facetime or Skype
- Share and compile research and compare and highlight notes through Diigo
Students who regularly use iPads to learn in an academic environment have indicated that it is an indispensable tool that facilitates research, enables timely communication with teaching staff and increases overall efficiency and productivity. As a result, iPads are demonstrating that they can have a positive impact on both motivation and the quality of students' work.
iPads have repeatedly demonstrated to researchers and the academic community that they can enable collaborative work through sharing academic resources and ideas online as well as through group assignments performed in class. Students at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota online utilize the iPad to connect to their coursework, teachers and classmates. Class sizes are kept small so online students can really get to know each other and establish relationships.