Saturday, January 21, 2012

REINVENTING THE TEXT BOOK

The iPad is one heck of a powerful, portable and versatile machine.

I was an early adapter, picking one up in Las Vegas shortly after it was released in March 2010.

With out a doubt, no other electronic device in my house has been used and abused as much as that original iPad.

The kids love it for games, reading and surfing the net. The educational potential has always been obvious to me. Features like videos, animations, definitions, flashcards, and quizzes are plentiful.

Last March, Steve Jobs unveiled the second generation - iPad 2 which was a major step up over mine. It featured two cameras (the original had neither), was twice as fast,  3% thinner than its predecessor and 15% lighter. 

As much as I wanted one, there was no justifying purchasing it after buying a new 27 inch I7 Mac. So I waited for Christmas thinking it would make a great present for Kristine. Of course it was and I never get to use it.

Kris is a teacher and apparently she may be getting another iPad for her classroom. Her school is not alone, more and more schools are jumping on the digital bandwagon and adopting iPads for daily use in the classroom.

Yesterday, Apple announced the results of a partnership with  textbook publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They performed a pilot study using an iPad text for Algebra 1 courses, and found that 20 percent more students (78 percent compared to 59 percent) scored ‘Proficient’ or ‘Advanced’ in subject comprehension when using tablets rather than paper textbook counterparts.

It looks like the iPad helps students better connect with content and learning. McGraw-Hill Education has joined iBooks Textbooks, and it’s currently offering five high school math and science titles designed for the iPad, planning to double its  offerings this year with the texts sold through the iBookstore. This marks a first for McGraw-Hill — producing high school text specifically for the iPad and it lets them add interactive features and multimedia.

Wired's Geekdad pointed out that a study centered on an iPad game, Motion Math, showed  that tFifth graders who regularly played the game for 20 minutes per day over a five-day period increased their test scores by 15 percent on average!

Pilot courses and iPad programs have cropped up all over the United States.

How far can we from a 1:1 iPad program to ensure students reap the benefits of these fantastic units. Many school boards may not be on board because they see them as an expensive and expendable budget item. I think they need to look at the opportunity, the cost savings on e-books alone might justify the costs.

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