ED 650 Final
Last year our district moved from having laptop computer carts in each classroom to providing every student K-12th grade with a 1:1 iPad tablet mobile device. Primary students are required to keep their devices at school; however, secondary students have the ability to use the device at school or at home. Students and teachers in our district have been reluctant to use this technology in the classroom because they have not been properly trained or prepared to successfully use the devices. This mobile technology does have the opportunity to transform instructional practices in the building by personalizing learning for all students in the classroom, but with our current procedures and use of the device, it is currently not being utilized to its full potential. Without proper training for the educators and students, the use of the device is creating barriers to student learning and teacher instruction, not enhancing it. Several students are currently reporting that teachers in many of their classes do not even attempt to utilize the iPad technology at all. Educators need to be trained on how tablet devices are used and can be used for instructional purposes.
It is the district’s responsibility to provide educators with proper training not only on how to use the tablet device but instructional uses for the tablet device in the classroom. Training on instructional uses of the iPad is an essential piece for administrators to create an environment where teachers are willing to implement the technology. The hesitation with using the technology in the classroom is because teachers are not confident on how to use the device effectively. Without adequate training, educators will not be confident in using the device for instructional purposes. As a district, we have spent time, money and resources to integrate this technology into our district K-12th grade. If we do not change our current iPad procedure to properly train educators to use the device the time, money and resources will be wasted. If the district provides educators in our district with proper training and a little funding, they can begin to utilize iPads in their classrooms to innovate instruction, enhance learning outcomes and engage students in their learning by creating an environment of active not passive learners.
Project-based learning is an instructional model that educators can use that will actively engage students and utilize the iPads in classroom instruction. My interest in project-based learning (PBL) stemmed from the fact that it will create a student-centered instructional model in which students are motivated and engaged in class. According to Savery (2006), “PBL is an instructional (and curricular) learner-centered approach that empowers learners to conduct research, integrate theory and practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a viable solution to a defined problem.” Educators would use their curriculum to create collaborative project-based units from the content. By designing content into project-based assignments, students have the ability to explore a topic of interest as they collaboratively work together to create a product that demonstrates their learning. With access to the use of the iPad’s educators can use this mobile technology to personalize student learning and easily implement project-based instruction. Groups can work individually and collaboratively on the iPad as it provides them with functional communication capabilities. Students working on (PBL) can use the iPad to research and gather information and data for the project. The mobility of the device allows for students to easily gather data in the classroom or around the school/community and share it with the rest of their group members. In addition to the research and note-taking capabilities, the iPad also has educational app tools available for students to use for presentations to their classmates or school-body. Project-based-learning is only one example educators can use to utilize their iPads. As educators build their confidence in using the tablet device because of training, they can implement a variety of instructional models utilizing the iPads in the classroom. Hybrid and blended models of instruction are going to blend traditional classroom instruction with the iPad. Flipped classrooms utilize the iPad to deliver all of their instruction online outside of class. During class, students work on assignments with support from the teacher. Educators have a variety of instructional options to follow as they integrate the tablet device into their classroom instruction. With proper training, educators can move from using the device as a replacement tool and start to innovate classroom instruction. Educators can innovate instruction in any content area using project-based learning or other instructional models available with access to the iPad.
To start to utilize the iPads, educators have a variety of educational tools available for them to use. There is a lot of current educational technology focused on augmented and virtual reality options to use to innovate their classroom instruction. Augmented reality and virtual reality technology can both be utilized using the iPad. According to Wu, Lee, Chang and Liang (2012), “the coexistence of virtual objects and real environments allows learners to visualize complex spatial relationships and abstract concepts (Arvanitis et al., 2007), experience phenomena that is not possible in the real world (Klopfer & Squire, 2008), interact with two- and three-dimensional synthetic objects in the mixed reality (Kerawalla, Luckin, Seljeflot, & Woolard, 2006), and develop important practices and literacies that cannot be developed and enacted in other technology-enhanced learning environments (Squire & Jan, 2007; Squire & Klopfer, 2007). Educators can use AR/VR reality to help students visualize, interpret and experience their learning like never before. Augmented reality allows for educators to combine visual experience with movement to create an instructional experience. Students are still immersed in a visual experience with virtual reality, but they are stationary to their desks. Both offer different but beneficial instructional uses for the educator.
Using AR/VR to present information to students not only creates a personalized student-centered model of instruction but also active not passive learners. Educators can send students on virtual exploration tours of different topics. The mobility of the device provides educators to use the device not only within their classroom but also around the school grounds. Augmented reality especially provides students the ability to interact with their devices, but also with their physical environment as they move around the classroom or school during instruction. This immersive experience not only allows for educators to innovate their instruction but also innovate instructional practices. Students will be motivated and engaged in their learning when students use either AR/VR technology in the classroom. AR/VR technology can be used instructional by educators, but also creatively by students.
Students can be taught how to use technology to create interactive presentations. The cost is often a factor contributing to the implementation or lack of implementation of a certain technology such as virtual reality into the classroom. With access to tablet devices, teachers have access to free AR/VR apps to use in the classroom. The only additional cost to the educators would only be to have to purchase virtual reality headsets for the classroom. Google has created cardboard virtual reality headsets that can be purchased by educators for around $25 apiece. With already having access to mobile technology devices, the cost to adopt this technology is more reasonable as they will only need to purchase headsets. By having the cost of using the technology limited, it is easier to implement the use without too man additional costs. Along with the use of AR/VR to change instruction and student presentations, educators can also use iPads to gamify their classrooms and innovate their overall instruction.
Games have been found to enhance instruction as they motivate and engage students in their learning. iPads can be utilized by educators in the classroom to facilitate educational learning through games on the iPad. ARIS is a software that can be used by educators to either create or play educational games in a variety of different content areas. Musselman, Hess, and Lowery (2018) authors of Gaming in the Social Studies Classroom: Student Perceptions of Learning History with Mobile Media conducted a study using ARIS to teach students about D-Day in a secondary social studies classroom. As a U.S. History teacher, I understand firsthand how difficult it can be to engage students in their learning. For this research study, the researchers used an ARIS game to educate students on a WWII event, D-Day. Musselman, Hess, and Lowery (2018) stated that “pupils played D-Day, a mobile media game, through the app ARIS on iPads. D-Day is a historical narrative that emphasizes choice; players decide from a list of actions, which ultimately determine their survival.” As students played the game, they made decisions that produced either caused them to either survive or not survive the landing.
Using ARIS on the iPad in the classroom provides students with the opportunity to actively participate in their learning. Reading about D-Day does not produce the same visual experience and understanding for students as playing the game on ARIS does for students. To complete the game, students must interact with the content and make decisions that will result in their survival. This interaction and visual experience are priceless to the student’s overall understanding of the event and its importance in history. Musselman, Hess, and Lowery (2018) stated “depending on elapsed time and how history is presented, individuals may have difficulty visualizing and fully comprehending the past. D-Day’s format, however, sought to confront this issue. This historical narrative emphasized player choice and link participants to the Invasion of Normandy, an event that occurred seventy-three years ago. Many students voiced a connection to the experience. As one participant stated, “I felt like I was going through D-Day. I could see the choices those who survived and died had to make, and why their choices led to their victory.” Using ARIS to teach the students about D-Day provided the student with the same content, but a vastly different learning experience of the event.
Following the D-Day game, Musselman, Hess, and Lowery (2018) said that “79% of participants agreed that the iPad improved their enjoyment of history after the activity.” Students will be engaged and motivated to learn throughout this experience making them more likely to remember the positive learning experience. In addition to ARIS software, there are a variety of educational games, software, and apps available for educators K-12th in different content areas to utilize for instructional use. The educational apps available for educators allow for teachers to either select pre-made games or create their own using apps like Kahoot and Jeopardy. Not only can games on the iPad be used to engage students in the instruction, but they can also be used for products of student learning. By having students create games, they are going to learn not only the content but how to use the technology as well. These games will not only motivate and engage students in their learning but effectively utilize the iPads in the classroom for several different instructional uses.
Educational technology continues to advance to provide tools that educators can use for instruction as well as teach students to use to create innovative projects and presentations. It is time for educators to move beyond teaching students how to be creative using paper posters, PowerPoint and word. Educators should be mixing up their instructional presentations and asking their students to do the same with their projects. There are a number of free educational tools available for educators to use to be creative. Canva and Piktochart are two resources that students or teachers can use to create products such as infographics, animated posters or presentations for projects. Adobe Spark Post, Video or page can all be used to create a variety of products such as videos, digital stories, web pages, animated posters, GIFS, and infographics. Clips is easy for editing and creating short informational or instructional videos in class. These educational tools are simple and easy to use for both educators and students.
With proper training and access to the APPS provided by the school district, educators can not only innovate their instructional presentations but also student presentations as well. Not only can the effective utilization of the iPad help students create better projects, but it also has tools available for students to utilize that allow and encourage collaboration. Google has provided a platform of instructional resources such as google docs and google slides that allow for students to work on projects together by allowing them to edit and comment on the work they are producing together. This allows for collaboration opportunities inside and outside of the classroom. The potential to use the iPad provides is only limited by the capabilities of the user. If teachers are taught how to effectively use the iPad for instruction, they will be more likely to not only use the technology but encourage students to use the technology as well.
Our district has already spent time, money and resources on the implementation of iPads into the classrooms. Without proper training on how to use the device, educators cannot begin to utilize the iPads in their instruction to their full potential. As a district, for the use of the iPad to be a success it is imperative that we spend money and time adequately training teachers to not only use the basic functions of the device but also how to use them for instruction in class. Currently, there are a number of educational tools, software, and devices available to educators that we are not utilizing. As a district, we have access to technology that other districts continue to dream of, please stop letting the access to this technology to continue to be underutilized. With proper training and support, not only can educators utilize the technology we already have available, but they can innovate their instruction to enhance learning outcomes, motivation, and engagement!
Ditzler, C., Hong, E. & Strudler, N. (2016) How Tablets Are Utilized in the Classroom. Retrieved From https://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
English, M. & Kitsantas, A. (2013). Supporting Student Self-Regulated Learning in Problem-and Project-Based Learning. Retrieved from https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1339&context=ijpbl
Montrieux H, De Grove F, Shellens, T. (2014). Mobile learning in secondary education: Teachers’ and students’ perceptions and acceptance of tablet computers. Retrieved: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287323883
Montrieux H, Vanderlinde R, Courtois C, Shellens T and D e Marez, L. (2013). A qualitative study about the implementation of tablet computers in secondary education: the teacher’s role in this process. Retrieved from: www.sciencedirect.com
Musselman, A., Hess, M. & Lowery, C. (2018). Gaming in the Social Studies Classroom: Perceptions of Learning History with Mobile Media. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.uncfsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1189&context=jri
Nyman, Gahwaji, & Dhir. (2013). The Role of the iPad in the Hands of the Learner. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ea95/9a7da03c645b8031ad9201c62bf2bc4c198c.pdf
Savery, J. (2006). Overview of Problem-based Learning: Definitions and Distinctions. Retrieved from https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=ijpbl
Soykan, E. (2015). Views of students’, teachers’ and parents’ on the tablet computer usage in education. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.18844/cjes.v1i1.68