Technology has become fused into our daily lives as it continues to evolve and become more accessible to the masses. It is not surprising that school districts have been focusing on educational technology and how it can be used to innovate current methods of instruction. Ditzler, Hong, and Strudler (2016) state, “the implementation of technology in the classroom is essential in the 21st century as children are prepared for their future in a rapidly changing world.” The use of technology in the classroom not only can innovate current methods of instruction but provide teachers and students with more personalized learning options than they ever had before. When I refer to personalized learning, I am using the definition from Pane, Steiner, Baird et. al. (2017) that states:
personalized learning prioritizes a clear understanding of the needs and goals of each individual student and the tailoring of instruction to address those needs and goals. These needs and goals, and progress toward meeting them are highly visible and easily accessible to teachers as well as students and their families, are frequently discussed among these parties, and are updated accordingly.
Most of our readings from this week imply that teachers are still trying to determine what methods are most effective to use to implement personalized learning effectively in the classroom. Technology innovators interested in education are trying to come up with the solution by developing tech tools and online instructional options to help with the implementation of personalized learning. The first step quite a few schools are currently making to move towards more personalized learning is to provide 1:1 technology options to all of their students.
Providing students with access to 1:1 technology requires a school district to have adequate funding for that technology. School districts not only need to be able to purchase the technology, but also maintain the technology following its purchase. Having 1:1 laptops for students has become an expensive option for school districts as many of them are unable to maintain this cost over extended periods of time for various reasons, but mainly inadequate funding. This has sent school districts on the lookout for a more cost-effective option to provide their schools with access to technology. Ditzler, Hong, and Strudler (2016) state, “the 1:1 laptop program was the first phase of ubiquitous technology integration in education (Cuban, 2010; Weston & Bain, 2010), and we are now seeing the second phase, namely, table com-puters.” As school districts transition to the use of iPads, I am interested not only about how iPads are utilized in schools but the process of adopting iPads.
Tablets are being utilized in schools; however, how they are being utilized within the school can be in a variety of different forms. Ditzler, Hong, and Strudler (2016) completed a research study focusing on how iPads were being utilized in classrooms. The research study was conducted by introducing iPads “to 6,500 students and teachers in five Title I middle schools in the 2012-2013 school year in a large metropolitan school district in the southwest of the United States.” The most common use of tablets identified in the study according to Ditzler, Hong, and Strudler (2016) “included projects, research, and submitting homework for the majority of participants.” In addition to projects, research and submitting homework, APP developers have created several educational apps that allow students to “play” games as they learn content such as reading, writing or mathematics. These apps often allow students access to a smaller version of personalized learning as they are able to move through the games at their own pace during instructional time. The access to personal technology and using these APPS in the classroom can make it easier for teachers to cater to the personal learner as they can, for example with reading, be set to each student’s individual reading level and goals. Students can access the apps at home and have the ability to work towards those goals with their family.
I would like to continue my research to find more instructional ways that teachers are utilizing iPads in the classroom. I haven’t found enough information on the improvement of learning outcomes because of the use of the tablets. I was hoping this article provided more innovative ways to utilize the iPad in the classroom. I think most of the ways that were presented in this article are pretty standard and don’t do much to change instruction. The iPad use seems to still be in a phase of integration that is very basic. The iPad seems to make the overall instruction easier for the teacher but doesn’t really change the instruction. Examples came from the Ditzler, Hong, and Strudler (2016) research “most teachers and students, however, used the iPads in the class for a number of purposes: (a) to check and submit homework, (b) to check scheduled assignments, ( c) to follow along with the lesson, and (d) to work on projects using apps, with varied proportions of these purposes in each class.” The use of the iPad is useful, but the overall instruction hasn’t changed.
Overall the study concluded that a key factor in the effective use and utilization of iPads in the classroom was dependent on the process in which it is adopted. Teachers attitude, training and classroom climate surrounding the use of the iPad are also factors that determine if it is successful or not. Ditzler, Hong, and Strudler (2016) state, “how the teachers used the device was indicative of how the students would use it.” If teachers are not adequately trained to use the devices, they will be unable to teach their students how to either. Effective utilization starts with properly preparing teachers to use the devices. It also involves preparing teachers to evaluate the technology used and assess how it is improving student learning. Ditzler, Hong, and Strudler (2016) recommend that “knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content should [all] be aligned for effective instruction.” To make the transition to 1:1 technology it is important that teachers have the support, training and time.
Bowles, N. (2019). Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion. Retrieved Fromhttps://ed431.community.uaf.edu/files/2019/10/Silicon-Valley-Came-to-Kansas-Schools.-That-Started-a-Rebellion.-The-New-York-Times-Small.pdf
Ditzler, C., Hong, E. & Strudler, N. (2016) How Tablets Are Utilized in the Classroom.Retrieved fromhttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eunsook_Hong/publication/302634934_How_Tablets_Are_Utilized_in_the_Classroom/links/5b3634f2a6fdcc8506dc864f/How-Tablets-Are-Utilized-in-the-Classroom.pdf
Kim, T. (2019). The Messy Reality of Personalized Learning. Retrieved from https://ed431.community.uaf.edu/files/2019/10/The-Messy-Reality-of-Personalized-Learning-The-New-Yorker.pdf
Pane, J., Steiner, E., Baird, M., Hamilton, L. & Pane, J. (2017). Insights on Personalized Learning Implementation and Effects. Retrieved from https://ed431.community.uaf.edu/files/2019/10/RAND_RR2042.pdf