Using the iPad requires more than just a change in mindset; it involves a cultural change, one that can be painful. One of the drawbacks I found this semester was that students used and discussed the iPad only in my class. That made my class unique, but it also meant that students defaulted to familiar technology outside class.
At an education conference recently, an Apple representative said the iPad was most successful in schools where administrators pushed for widespread adoption, and faculty received training in how to adapt assignments. That commitment usually involved infrastructure such as wireless networks for classrooms that allow teachers to broadcast class materials to students (think of each iPad screen as the classroom screen) and give students and teachers alike the option of sending material to everyone. As one participant in the conference pointed out, schools save paper when everyone uses the iPad but spend the money on infrastructure and technology instead.
Consider, too, the cost of apps your students will need. Will you require them to buy those apps, or will your department supply them? Will you be able to show students how to use those apps yourself or will you need the help of technical support staff? And if you are on your own, will the technical training detract from other, more valuable assignments?
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