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In Praise of the iPad (not a sponsored commercial)

Posted By Daniel A. Kelin II, AATE President, Sunday, January 22, 2012

I am not a MAC person; let me get that out there right at the get go. Never interested in purchasing the various ‘i’ anythings. When my office decided to purchase a tablet to use as an in-class recording device, I searched hard to try and justify a non-‘i’ product. However, it proved hard to justify anything but the iPad. In this case, it clearly outshined other similar products. And, the choice justified itself almost immediately.

I teach every year at a large public school with a substantial English Language Learner (ELL) population, guiding groups of ELLs to create small performance pieces. This year I used the iPad to videotape their rehearsals. Having the students be able to immediately see their work, reflect on it and review it to confirm what choices needed to be strengthened proved to be the most effective performance-based reflect tool I have used with these students. Although previous students were aware of the importance and need of such skills as volume, they struggled with recognizing their true effect. Listening and comparing themselves to others worked for some, but others were convinced of their own effectiveness because they could only see it from their own vantage point. In other words, they were their own audience and that audience felt satisfied.

The results of the iPad were almost immediate. Comparing this year to previous years at this school, the students quickly and efficiently became more cognizant of simple skills such as placement on the stage, volume, pacing, and clarity of gesture. In addition, their ability to self-reflect grew. The evidence presented was irrefutable. They heard and saw themselves from the vantage point of the audience and now they could truly experience the perspective needed to help them improve on their own.

I have not used the iPad for anything else at this point, but as a reflective tool the iPad is unchallenged.

Tags:  ipad  reflective tool  resources 

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Betsy D. Williams says...
Posted Monday, February 20, 2012
My school offered iPads to teachers this year. It has revolutionized my teaching as far as planning, grading, and presenting material to students, but I haven't used it as a self-reflection tool for the students. What a great idea!
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