Saturday, January 15, 2011

iPads vs. computers in the K classroom

I use a lot of technology in my classroom.  Yet, you may have noticed most of my blogs are about my new iPads.  Prior to getting the iPads I used 3-5 computers in my classroom on a regular basis.  My students primarily used,, kidpix, and a phonics program on CD. Occasionally I would have them use Word.

I used them during literacy centers (1-2 students at each PC) as an independent center and the kids could use them during playtime).  When I first got the iPads I assumed I would continue to use the computers too; and I have, a little.  However, the iPads are so easy and quick to use that I find I dread the start up, logging on, finding the website/right program, etc. involved in using the laptops.  I still use the mobile Mac lab about twice weekly with my kids so they are still getting experience using computers.

Pro's for iPads:  very mobile (one of my reading groups carries them down to the library on a regular basis) and kids can sit on the carpet, at a table or ? with them.  Starts up in seconds, easy to navigate between programs.  Little to no issues- if they should work they do.  If a kid goes to the wrong application they just press the home button to get back to the choices.  Touch screen- much more intuitive for the little guys.  Using apps rather than websites reduces the chance of kids clicking on a link and going off into internet never never land.   Apps are relatively cheap or free.  Durable; no keys falling off the keyboard.

Con's for iPads:  Cleaning the screen (sanitizing?)  The folders all look the same and my emerging readers can't tell them apart sometimes.  Printing is challenging for me, as well as how to save their original work easily.  Individual profiles are not possible, except for within certain apps.

Pro's for PC/Macs:  They don't cause as much attention or excitement.  Or is that a con?  My volunteers are familiar with them.  The macs have a camera and video built in.

Con's for PC/Macs:  Time to start up and log on.  There is no syncing, so you have to update each computer.  Update, registration and pop up windows confuse my kids.  For some reason the keys like to fall off (or maybe they are being picked off).  Caps lock and number lock confuse the kids.  Programs are costly and internet sites are sometimes hard to navigate or have links to pages I don't want my students on.

The iPads have definitely won out for me as far as ease of use, and the high number of apps that specifically meet my needs.  Instead of just hoping kids will play certain activities within a site or program I can have them use an app to target a skill.  Plus, they are FUN!


  1. I have a question- I am a teacher, and a parent. Our school plans to do a way with computers completely, and use ipads. How do you think this effects learning to use a keyboard?
    I learned to type in school, and knowing where things are located on a keyboard has definitely been helpful even as technology as moved in this direction. Let me know your thoughts. thanks

    1. I think sticking with regular computers or attaching a keyboard of some type to an iPad is best for teaching typing in K-5. I use a Kenningston cover with built in bluetooth keyboard with my iPad when I have serious typing to do. The only drawback is it only has a left side shift key- I miss the right side one. If your school goes to all ipads I recommend they purchase keyboard cases; they offer protection and a typical keyboard experience.

      I am a pretty slow typist myself... and I find the iPad keyboard to be pretty difficult for longer typing sessions.

      Incidentally I have gotten a couple of emails from the creators of Snapkeys this week. Their product looks interesting!


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