By Shelly Koren
The inclusion of Ipads in the classroom has become a controversial one, as there is little research assessing how the brain of a child is affected by early exposure to them. There are researchers and educators that claim it as an effective tool to use in class, as it provides the students with numerous resources such as the dictionary, Google, and plenty others.
Since their launch the Ipad and tablet’s popularity has escalated in schools, including ages as young as preschool. It has been predicted that one tablet or Ipad will be sold every 15 seconds during the Christmas season- needless to say the product has become an increasingly relevant tool for contemporary culture.
Given its popularity statistics show that if an adult owns an Ipad or tablet their children are likely to use it just as frequently as the adult. In addition, when the Common Sense Report on media use by children aged up to eight was published they discovered that the amount of children owning tablets and Ipads has continued to increase at the same pace as adult ownership of these products.
It is therefore essential to recognize that students will be using these products in class, and how this changes the classroom. Student teacher Alanna Kaplan understands that the Ipad has contributed negatively and positively to the classroom due to its versatility as a source for education, and a distraction.
“Its definitely contributed positively in that students are starting to learn in a way that caters more toward their generation, but distractions are present more so in iPad work than in regular book work simply because of the accessibility of information outside of the task at hand. The ability for students to use the iPads for multiple purposes is presumably the cause of this”
The effects of the Ipad clearly both hold incredible gains for students and also can be detrimental to their ability to learn.
Teachers such as Anne Laure Bazine who is the Assistant Head Teacher at Mounts Bay Academy in Cornwall claims that the Ipad has greatly improved communication between the teacher, student, and parent, ensuring that every participant is aware of where the student stands, and how they are learning. She also asserts that if students can share work more easily, as well as having missing text work sent to the students in case they left it at home.
Kaufman, director of the BabyLab at Swinburne University in Melbourne states that at this point in time, parents will have to use their own intuition in regards to how often their children can use their Ipad. Research about how the Ipad affects the brain is still at its infancy, but it has become clearer that they contribute to children’s inability to understand slower-paced information because of how quickly information is provided to us- but even this is not a statement that is fully formed.
Because we are not yet entirely sure how the Ipad will affect the brain Alanna Kaplan suggests that
“teachers should present students with tasks that are more complex and require more research and critical thinking – therefore minimizing “free” time, having increased teacher circulation throughout a classroom, or just not using iPads”