I disagree with this author’s opinion about having an iPad in a 3rd grade classroom

I just read this article on the front page of the Outlook section of Sunday’s Washington Post:
When I Powered On Their iPads, Conversations Shut Down

This article is one tech-novice teacher’s opinion. I also am a 3rd grade teacher in Arlington. I am a novice to having one-to-one iPads in my classroom but not a novice to teaching. As I began my 24th year as an educator this year,  I was given 22 students and 23 iPads (one for me!).

As a teacher, I reflect often. If I saw less talking between my students once the iPads arrived like the author of the article did, I’d reflect on WHY. Then I would problem-solve to ensure that this tool isn’t causing my students to talk less because I value talk. By talking it out, we show our understanding. I would NOT simply blame it all on having an iPad in the room, as it feels like the author of this article is doing.

Instead, I tell my students, “The iPad is a tool you can choose to use to do the work. You can also choose paper and pencil. You can choose white board and marker. You are the learner so choose what works best for you.” By telling them this, I set the tone for why we gave them an iPad, “not a toy but a tool” and the expectation is set. “You choose how best to do your learning.” Then, as with all my lessons, I provide lots of time for “turn and talk” so we can talk to another about the concept we are learning with our tools next to us to support our talk. As an educator, I remain open to learning along with my students about how this new tool can help us to grow and learn best in the 21st century.

It is only December and together my 3rd graders and I have learned lots with an iPad alongside all of us. I am glad to have the opportunity to have this tool to use this year in 3rd grade.

Do you have an opinion on the use of technology in the classroom and its impact on talk? 
Please share it!!

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8 thoughts on “I disagree with this author’s opinion about having an iPad in a 3rd grade classroom

  1. Pamela Stegink says:

    Bravo, Sally! You are bravely providing your students with a variety of tools to engage them and facilitate learning! I have ipads in my first grade classroom but sadly, only 3 for 24 students. I wish I had 1:1.

    Like

  2. Pamela Stegink says:

    Bravo, Sally! You are bravely providing your students with a variety of tools to engage them and facilitate learning! I have ipads in my first grade classroom but sadly, only 3 for 24 students. I wish I had 1:1.

    Like

  3. Ms. Victor says:

    I had similar thoughts when I read the article. We are 1;1 iPads and 1:1 Chromebooks this year and the students at my school are 1:1 all the way through. You are right, as a teacher you have to look at yourself when you see something happening. It is great that you are helping your students to choose and use tools responsibly. It would be an interesting subject for our students to debate.

    Like

  4. Ms. Victor says:

    I had similar thoughts when I read the article. We are 1;1 iPads and 1:1 Chromebooks this year and the students at my school are 1:1 all the way through. You are right, as a teacher you have to look at yourself when you see something happening. It is great that you are helping your students to choose and use tools responsibly. It would be an interesting subject for our students to debate.

    Like

  5. Linda B says:

    I wondered too when I read the article. In the classroom there is so much happening, and everyone chooses the activity that works right then. Sometimes that is a device, sometimes that's a hands-on project, sometimes that a 1:1 conference with the teacher. You've described it the way it should be.

    Like

  6. Tara Smith says:

    My favorite sentence here: As an educator, I remain open to learning along with my students about how this new tool can help us to grow and learn best in the 21st century.
    That's what it's all about!

    Like

  7. Tara Smith says:

    My favorite sentence here: As an educator, I remain open to learning along with my students about how this new tool can help us to grow and learn best in the 21st century.
    That's what it's all about!

    Like

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