The NYT has a curiously titled article on the adoption of iPads by schools as a teaching device. It seems that school administrators are rushing to include the devices in their schools, but some people have their doubts about them. On the one hand you have educational experts questioning the efficacy of iPads versus traditional teaching methods and on the other hand there are people questioning why schools are buying Apple’s product rather than the raft of cheaper options out there. (2011 is already being touted as the year of the tablet after the preponderance of the category at CES, so perhaps the brand dependence will shift in the future)

I predict that the use of iPads, or other tablet computers, will make the job of educators easier, but won’t in and of itself improve educational outcomes. In other words, I’ve reached the (rather boring) conclusion that tablets have potential in the classroom, but only if they are used in the proper way.

What I expected to read in an article entitled “Math That Moves…” was something more along the lines of this TEDxNYC talk by Dan Meyer.

In his talk, Mr. Meyer rails against the dumbed-down, by-rote, and thus entirely unappealing, didactic strategies that are in almost every math text used in our schools today. He focuses instead on getting students to think about real-world problems and how they can find out answers. Hint: use math. Notice how Meyer uses video to illustrate a concrete example of where math is useful in real life. This is exactly the place where iPads or similar devices could be a boon, providing rich, multi-modal educational experiences. How many of those thousands of apps actually do that?

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