Last week at the EdLab, the high school students who are working on the inventory project were subjects of an initial study about how high school students may use the IPad. We were assigned a synopsis of Harper Lee’s classic book, To Kill A Mockingbird, on the Barnes and Noble E-reader on the IPad. We were given two hours each with the IPad without any prior knowledge of or how to use the IPad.I found both the e-reader and the IPad to be very useful tools that could potentially enhance how high school students learn in the coming years and beyond. First, it the IPad will make it easier for students to have all their textbooks and required readings in one place and not have to carry heavy books to schools everyday.
Over the past couple years, there have been very few technologies added to the classrooms that I find helpful. Although I am grateful New York City has introduced laptops and smart boards in some public schools as a way to enhance student performance, I still feel the City has a long way to go in terms of new technologies that might actually improve student performance. I think there is enormous potential for the IPad to do just that. When I read in school, whether it’s a novel, textbook or article, there are a lot of things that make the experience very difficult and a hassle. With novels, students are sometimes allowed to bring the novels home and thus may have to visit a public library for the book or read it during lunchtime. Textbooks are a hassle to students simply because of its enormous size. Some teachers expect students to carry the textbook to and from class on a daily basis, a difficult task considering each class has at least one huge textbook and in my case, I have to also carry my sports equipment as well. Due to its size, some students refuse to bring it to school and are usually left out of the learning process during in class reading or class discussions.
In terms of learning, the biggest obstacle with books, textbooks, and articles is that most times they do not belong to the student and thus they cannot takes notes or annotate inside the book. The text and font size are unchangeable and one has to stop reading whenever a word or allusion pops up they do not understand, among other factors.
After my experience with the Barnes and Noble E-Reader on the IPad, I found it has many features that regular schoolbooks don’t have. Unlike regular schoolbooks, the E-Reader allows you to change the level of brightness, text sizes, color and the background to the student’s preference. It also gives you note taking tools, highlighting, dictionary and access to the web, which may help the student better understand what they are reading. Every student has their own methods and preferred style of reading, which is not always the same so the fact that it gives you this option will make it convenient for students of all levels to set their reading preferences.
As aforementioned, students often complain about textbooks being too heavy but if the IPad were available to students, it would be much more convenient due its small size and weight and it can have all your textbooks in one place since there is enough memory. All the features of the IPad and the benefits students ultimately stand to gain from it is a better solution than the numerous textbooks, novels and articles give to students each year. In my opinion, the IPad will boost academic performance and students will be more prone to reading after exposure to this new technology. I personally recommend it in my school and others because I think it will be very effective in enhancing learning.