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Peer Review

iPads for Learning



Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 25, 2012 by Teacher Education
Overview: This website is for educators who want to learn about using iPads in education. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in Victoria, Australia is working with Apple to test the value of the iPad, and the applications it can access, as an additional opportunity to engage students and to improve their educational attainment. Information about these efforts is documented and shared on this site.
Type of Material: website with cases studies, resources, apps, gallery, support, and more.
Recommended Uses: Resource materials and planning ideas for school programs or districts considering implementing an iPad program; study and research materials for K-12 school district, university education students and higher ed. faculty; Field-testing of apps used and documented; tutorials from photo and video gallery
Technical Requirements: Internet access
Identify Major Learning Goals: 1) To test the value of the iPad, and the applications it can access as an opportunity to engage students and improve their educational attainment. 2) To see examples of the ways that Australian schools have incorporated the iPad for learning. 3) To provide research on the effect of the iPad in education 4) To provide resources for other schools in how to implement the use of iPads in classrooms.
Target Student Population: Geared for k-12 teachers, administrators, higher ed teacher education faculty; graduate students in education
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Internet access

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The content of the site is based on the iPads for Learning trial in conjunction with Apple. The trial appears to have occurred in 2011-2012. They selected a range of apps to get teachers and students started using their iPads in school. The apps were explored to determine their teaching and learning potential and their accessibility in a range of learning environments. The education apps were selected to specifically get students connecting, communicating and creating. The site includes four case studies, a gallery, collected classroom ideas, a listing of all the apps they have used with information and links for getting them, and support for educators and parents. The apps are arranged into broad categories to provide a starting point for thinking about how they might be used by students, however many of the apps have multiple uses across a number of learning domains. The site also includes two ebooks that can be customized (select pages you want) and downloaded. "The 21 Steps to iPad Success", 36 pages, tells about planning, preparing, implementing and evaluating this new iOS technology. The second ebook, "Getting Started: Classroom Ideas for Learning with the iPad" is 41 pages and designed for schools to start the process. Chapters include working safely and responsibly, bundled apps, selected apps, classroom ideas, and more. These ebooks and more resources can be found under the Support link at the top of the home page.
Concerns: Australian schools operate differently from those in other countries so this must be taken into account in reading the materials.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The content on this site is rich, current, and paves the way for those educators and schools that seek to implement iPads in their teaching and learning. The material and documentation should help to improve faculty and students ability to learn and teach via the iPad. The selected apps section alone is valuable to educators, but include it with the HOW and WHY the apps were used and you have very solid reasons for reviewing the content at this site. Educators, particularly elementary and middle school teachers, student teachers, graduate students, and higher ed. teacher education faculty should be able to use this content in a variety of ways. Research, presentations, field-testing, and assigned reading and reviews are a few of the ways that come to mind immediately.
Concerns: The support that the government gave this project may be absent in other areas.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site has a clean, efficient design. All of the links are on the header and can be reached from any page in the site quickly and easily. The content layout is intuitive and makes sense. You can conduct a search of the site from a search slot that is also available from any page. There is a link to follow the site on Twitter as well. Contact, privacy, and disclaimer information are clearly labeled and marked on all pages as well.
Concerns: Great deal of content. Apps are always changing. It's unclear how often the site is updated.