In a new infographic from mdg advertising (attached at the bottom of this post), it is said that kids are more mobile than ever. And by kids, they aren’t just talking about high schoolers; they are talking about much, much younger children. Kids, as young as 2, are now being exposed to such technologies as the iPad, iPod, and computers, and because of this exposure, they are becoming extremely proficient using these devices in an educational environment. In fact, based on a study performed on two groups of kindergarteners (one group utilized iPads as classroom technology and the other did not), “after 9 weeks, the students with iPads tested higher than the non-iPad students in every literacy measure.” This statistic alone is one of great value and insight into the future of education, when students have access to such great resources.
IPads encourage kids to interact with educational material in a brand new way, unseen before in the history of public education. With more than 20,000 learning apps available in the app store today, it seems that children are seeing more opportunities to succeed because of the vast array of subject material that can be catered and altered to match the needs of a specific child. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, whose mission “is to advance children’s learning through digital media,” states that based on their research, they “saw an average 27-percent increase in vocabulary among 5-year-olds after they used an educational iPad app. A similar study showed a 17-percent improvement among 3-year-olds”.
Kindergarteners Are Not the Only Students Benefitting
Older students, those not accustomed to having an iPad in their hands since the age of 3, are also reaping the benefits of iPad use; textbooks, usually costing an astronomical amount, are being produced in ebook form, drastically reducing the cost of these required books. Apart from the savings, ebooks are also easy to use and have interactive content that links the text directly to online sources. Colleges are also offering free, educational, digital content online through Apple’s iTunesU. More than 1,000 colleges worldwide take advantage of this program and, from this effort, this content has been downloaded more than 700 million times.
Advances in Alternative and Augmentative Communication
Even more revolutionary, than the higher test scores in youngsters because of their iPad use, is that of the possibilities that are opening to alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) because of portable devices like the iPad. For those of you who are not familiar with AAC, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association describes it as such: “Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas.” I have personally witnessed children with little-to-no speech who were able to communicate and be self advocates because of the device in their hands. AAC devices can cost up to $10,000 but with the iPad, it is a fraction of the cost with just as many options; parents can now afford to help their children without the penalties of price.
IPads are here to stay and are changing the education arena in the process. Teachers are seeing the change, so why aren’t more schools implementing them into their curriculum?