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iPads and tablets seem like that kind of technology. For my school several of us were asked to think about how teachers could use iPads. Most of the uses involve students having the iPad. So I thought I would put down what I think of, and then troll for other suggestions in comments. I'm looking for ideas that involve the teacher bringing one iPad into the room. Also if there are ideas to distinguish it from a smartphone or laptop.
- Give it to students. Do they need to look something up, compute something, watch a video, capture a video, read a reference text... The larger interface makes it more suitable for group work.
- Constructive use of social media in the classroom. Backchannel, Google Groups or Plus, Edmodo, etc. Recently did #mathchat on Twitter with a class and it was a drag bopping back and forth to the classroom computer and taking dictation on class comments. Instead I could have said, "here's the iPad."
- Document your experiences to share with students. My colleagues Dave Coffey and Sean Lancaster do this already. Twitter, Evernote and I suppose now Google+. Portability > laptop, interface > smartphone.
- Portable reference library. Mobility > laptop, readability > smartphone.
- Data collection in class. Check off attendance, notes on student work or participation. Hard to carrry your laptop around to each group, easy to carry iPad. I used to so some of this on a palm but it was quite clunky. Apps for this are developing rapidly. BlackBoard Mobile is being pushed hard and may figure in for GVSU.
- Assistive technology. Differentiate your lessons for a student with distinct requirements for access to a lesson. (Spellcheck suggested Assertive Technology - I like that, too.) See for example this post on iPad assistance (via @langwitches on Twitter).
- Moves towards paperless workplace. All those meetings where there's handouts for each teacher that move immediately to the recycle bin...
- Meta-use: model new technology adoption and integration for your students. By trying out new tech and sharing your process, you are modeling towards their Technological-Pedagogical-Content-Knowledge development (for teachers; see http://www.tpack.org) or the similar structure in other fields.
- Who knows? Apps are being developed at a break-neck pace. Putting these devices in teachers hands will expand their capabilities in ways we don't even know because they being created tomorrow. Cf http://www.mobilemouse.com/ that will allow you or students to control the classroom computer from anywhere in the room. There's a dedicated iTunes room for teacher apps now. (Warning iTunes link opens in iTunes.) Quite an opportunity for innovation in scholarship of teaching or even collaboration with the University's own mobile development lab. Or for students who are budding developers.
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