Wednesday, April 25, 2012

As I noted in my last blog contribution, I've struggled to use the iPad in direct teaching. As the semester ends it seems a good moment to take stock of where I stand now.

(1) I aimed originally to use a program that allows me to display primary texts in English and their primary language. The iPad was key to that inasmuch as the program that permits that could not be loaded on classroom computers. Disappointingly I used the iPad for this purpose only a little. I must admit, though, that this has less to do with the merit of the iPad for the purpose than with my own teaching patterns. To get the most from this feature I need to be considerably more patient with "set up" that permits useful projection of the texts in class. I am committed to working on this next semester, especially in that my students do seem to get quite a lot from working through a text they all see as one (as opposed to working from their own texts on the desk in front of them).
(2) I also hoped to use the iPad to project more images that were supposed to be available in the program that supplies the primary texts. However, the software producer has only released a very limited collection of its images available on laptop and desktop computers for use on iPads. They promise better in the coming months, but that was the same promise they made last November. We'll see (so to speak . . . images, after all).
(3) I continue to find the iPad enormously useful as a reader and take a great deal of pleasure in reading the increasing number of electronic books available through Watzek. Apostasy or not, this experience has made me a believer in reading electronically and willing to forsake the sacred paper text. As I may have noted before, in my view the iPad's greatest promise in education is as the best platform for delivering texts to student and teacher alike.

Looking ahead, I plan on finally taking some time to explore some of the ways others are putting the iPad to use in the classroom to add some tricks to my nearly empty bag. I hope as a result to offer more to the blog in the fall.

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