Teachers With Apps recently spoke with Amplify's manager of content partners, he was excited as he alluded that education and technology are about to BLOW. We couldn't agree more, as we see Amplify gearing up with a new, preloaded tablet specifically aimed at schools. Imagine students immersed in the curriculum as rich as the best interactive games and as demanding as the Common Core Standards. Math, ELA, and Science.
Google's announcement yesterday about releasing a major new education program that organizes and manages the way teachers upload books and other learning content to student tablets could indeed kill the iPad in schools. A year ago I would have vehemently opposed this concept, as I thought that the iPad was the end-all and be-all. However, after working in a school with iPads in several grades, I have to think otherwise. Apps with analytic capabilities will allow teachers to manage whole classrooms and still provide individualized learning. What a boon for schools!
...Google Play for Education is like an app store designed especially for teachers with some powerful management tools built-in. Teachers will be able to visit this app store and search by categories such as age range and subject matter. If you are trying to teach math to a bunch of first graders, you can plug in those refinements and get back a list of apps made specifically for that group. Read entire article at VentureBeat
Here is a list of my issues with iPads being integrated into the classroom setting:
- Lack of teacher training
- Schools infrastructure doesn't hold up
- Many schools' iPads are controlled by IT Directors
- iPads have uniform apps for each grade level, prohibits differentiation
- Most apps don't have a user-friendly tracking system - data, data, data
- Much of what is on the net is blocked, including all forms of social media.
- Schools must use purchase orders materials; in-app purchases are not possible
- Schools need the apps to be part of the Volume Purchase Program
If some big box companies want to enter into this marketplace, we welcome you with open arms. The concept of preloaded, ready to go, out of the box, is what schools are accustomed to. As long as the tablets are well designed with teachers and classrooms in mind throughout the development, I think they have a good chance of giving Apple a run for their money. My words of wisdom: An essential piece is teacher training and I do believe teachers could teach other teachers within their own schools if they were given the time. Hire a teacher to train if the district is too big. Lastly, EXCELLENT apps need to be installed on these devices. They need a long shelf life, they need to be versatile and when possible, cross-curriculum. Read this blog, An iPad is only as GOOD as the Content On It, written over a year ago. And remember, your iPad is only as good as the content on it. In addition, I can't emphasize enough the importance of teachers being well versed and completely at ease with the iPad in the classroom if they are expected to effectively teach with these tablets.