One of the many obstacles for educators when it comes to using technology in the classroom is training them on how exactly to do it. We know by now that simply handing out gadgets to teachers is not enough — they need to know how to maximize the potential and what best to use the technologies for.
With that in mind, Teachers College of San Joaquin will issue iPads (the iPad 2, to be clear) to every teacher-in-training starting next month. And they say it’s the first college of its kind to do so.
Dean Catherine Kearney says it’s crucial to prepare budding educators to keep up with and engage their students.
“I’m old enough to remember when computers hit the classroom and unfortunately as a teacher during that era, we weren’t provided with very much training, and in some classrooms they became very expensive plant stands.”
Not so with the iPad. The idea is to use it in both college and in K-12 classrooms. For example, with the Notorize app, which is for note taking and recording audio, educators can have their students read out loud for fluency, listen to and comment on it in the classroom, then bring the recordings back to college to analyze it with their teacher peers.
The iPads also make it easier for teachers-in-training to do things like Skype in to their classes and watch instructional videos.
Kearney says the amount of money saved on printing materials easily pays for the iPad, so there are no additional fees tacked on to the tuition.
“And when you think about college textbooks… they become obsolete almost by the time they’re printed,” she said. When you consider their cost — $130 to $200 and more each — the iPad investment makes sense.
And here’s what I was interested in: Why invest in a technology that changes so quickly?
“There will be another generation of the iPad and a generation of something we haven’t even imagined. Rather than tie to a single piece of technology, we’re working to stay with the newest and best tool,” she said.
“I’m of the generation that, you know, we hung onto something for 10 and 20 years. But that’s not the current generation, and our students and their students are used to things kind of rapidly moving to the next thing. The idea that new technology is always on the horizon should not prevent us from using the very best thing that’s available today.”
It’s also worth noting that Teachers College of San Joaquin trains teachers on “multiple pathways” and “linked learning” practices, which connects K-12 students to the world outside school perimeters. For instance, students studying the human circulatory system learn the content in class, then observe how it works by taking blood pressure on real patients in a hospital.
“Teacher candidates can understand how to translate academics into career readiness,” Kearney says. “They’re prepared to teach their courses in ways that prepare kids for the world of work and the world of school.”