iPad Integration in an Elementary Classroom: Lesson Ideas, Successes, and Challenges

iPad Integration in an Elementary Classroom: Lesson Ideas, Successes, and Challenges

Jung Won Hur, Amy Anderson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2985-1.ch003
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The availability of engaging apps on the iPad and its portability have encouraged many educators to adopt it as a teaching and learning tool in the classroom. However, because iPad integration is new, neither practical guidance nor best practices are yet available. Consequently, the authors integrated 13 iPads into a third grade classroom for a year to facilitate learning while examining how to unlock their full potential. The purpose of this chapter is to present specific elementary-level subject learning lesson ideas for iPads, identifying the advantages and challenges of such integration. They also provide practical tips for mobile technology integration in elementary classrooms.
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Theoretical Framework

How should the iPad be used to help student learning? To ensure that the integration of iPads was beneficial to student learning, the authors first asked this question. Researchers have claimed that technology is often used for the sheer sake of using it, neglecting its purpose (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). Technology integration should support curriculum goals and the development of 21st century learning skills such as collaboration, communication and problem solving skills (Hew & Brush, 2007; Warschauer, 2010). Creating meaningful activities with technology is critical because engaging tasks drive learning. Howland, Jonassen, and Marra (2012) claim, “In order for meaningful learning to occur, the task that students pursue should include active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and cooperative activities” (p. 2).

First, students should actively participate in learning activities. Constructivists claim that a teacher cannot deliver knowledge; rather, each student develops his or her own knowledge (Godon, 2009). Students should be given opportunities to seek answers by manipulating objects and engaging in learning processes. Students have previously manipulated tangible physical objects in classroom, but technology allows students to conduct a similar activity in a more safe and ethical way. For example, an app called Frog Dissection allows students to virtually manipulate a frog using pins or scissors and to view organs in 3-D. The app also provides detailed information about each organ and a comparison between humans and frogs, assisting students with scientific knowledge development.

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