Book Review – Teaching and Learning With The iPad by David Mahaley
by K. WALSH on JANUARY 13, 2013
This new eBook is an excellent introduction to using the iPad in the classroom.
David Mahaley is the principal at Franklin Academy in North Carolina, where he has led the adoption and integration of the iPad into this innovative K-12 charter institution’s curriculum. Together with administrator/teacher Tim Hall, Mahaley developed and ran the recent “Education Technology Learning Summit – Teaching & Learning with the iPad” conference in North Carolina. He has also written several articles about teaching with the iPad for EmergingEdTech. Mahaley recently published Teaching And Learning With The iPad, available for just $4.99 on Amazon.com.
This eBook is a great way for instructors to get started with the iPad. Mahaley bring his extensive hands-on experience, and straightforward writing style, to addressing many of the considerations a teacher new to the iPad would have. The ebook also contains plenty of useful information and insights for teachers who are more experienced with the popular Apple tablet.
The first two chapters are titled, “What Makes A Good App For The Classroom?”, and “Testing The Waters”. These chapters offer guidance on assessing and evaluating apps for the classroom. The use of rubrics, a familiar construct for most teachers, is at the core of the evaluation process. In “Testing The Waters”, an App Life Cycle is introduced, to help bring the app evaluation process full cycle.
The next two chapters, “Teaching-Student iPad Workflow Solutions” and “Cloud Storage and the iPad”, offer insights into the use of apps that can help both teacher and student in their day to day communication and organization. Apps like Evernote, Goodreader, Dropbox, and more are discussed and approaches to leveraging them in the classroom context are suggested. Teachers will appreciate the informed, practical advice offered and illustrated. For example,
“Let’s take the example of GoodReader. The app is a great tool for students to receive a PDF file from the instructor, annotate, and store for later use or send back to their instructor. In the image below, the file system on the left allows the user to place their documents received into specific notebooks. In this case, these notebooks correspond to the classes that the student is enrolled [in].”
Presentations, Note-taking, eTextbooks, and more
Chapter 5 covers approaches to projecting what’s on your iPad. The simplest and most flexible approach revolves around using Apple’s “Apple TV” device(not cheap, at $99, but well worth the functionality in provides). With the appropriate connections on your projector the Apple TV device enables you to roam your classroom, tablet in hand, with the iPad’s screen content being project wirelessly while you are free to lecture, demonstrate, help students, and more. Of course, this assumes you have a projector and screen available.
Chapter 6, “Presenting the Lesson”, offers multiple approaches to creating and delivering instructional content via the iPad. Keynote, Prezi Viewer, Explain Everything, and Nearpod are introduced. About Explain Everything Mahaley writes, “… this is truly my favorite presentation app to use in the classroom. This combines the elements of the interactive whiteboards with the content slides, images, and media you want to share with your class. On the surface this may seem as simply a whiteboard app. However, after a few minutes you begin to see the possibilities!”
Chapter 7 moves on to “Noteable Note Taking Apps”. After providing requirements that a note taking app should fulfill, a variety of apps that meet these needs are briefly reviewed. Pages, Sundry Notes, Noteledge, and CloudOn are covered. Chapter 8 gets into eTextbooks, from both the consumption and creation angles. After a few pages about electronic textbooks from traditional publishers, and the emerging concept of a-la-carte textbooks, the discussion moves onto the idea of making your own digital textbooks and a couple tools for doing so.
Content-specific apps, Assessment, and additional Resources
The next chapter is about some of the best ways to find good content-specific apps. If you’re looking for apps that relate specifically to the material you are teaching, Mahaley suggests starting with reputable blogs and review sites and professional groups. Appsineducation.blogspot.com is a favorite blog cited and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) is offered as an example of professional education technology organization that is highly regarded. Publishers of textbooks and other educational materials (such as Pearson) are another worthy source that is mentioned.
Chapter 10 moves onto Assessment, a vital instructional necessity that the iPad can facilitate with apps like Nearpod, Socrative, and LectureTools. A brief 4 point rubric is provided with qualities one should seek out in an assessment tool. Another great source for assessment tools can be your own institution, if they are using a web-based tool (that does not use Flash video, since these are not supported on the iPad).
The book concludes with two excellent chapters full of additional resources.
While I did come across the occasional grammatical error, these really had no impact on readability and the overall quality of information being offered(and I know I make a few of these from time to time myself – it’s hard not having copy-proofers at your disposal!). I highly recommend this resource, from one of the country’s most forward thinking, iPad-advocating K-12 administrators.