Today, teachers are struggling to engage and motivate students of the “iGeneration.” Part of the problem has to do with generational differences in technology. Today’s students are almost completely “digitalized”—most of their teachers are not! Instead of banning the iPhone and iPod Touch from the classroom, we need to incorporate them into our lessons.
I’m relatively new to the teaching profession and younger than many of my peers. Perhaps because of youth, I’m better able to relate to my students, and they feel more comfortable opening up to me. They’ll say things like, “Why can’t I bring my laptop to school or use my iPhone in class?” or “Why do I need to memorize that date when I can look it up on my iTouch?” These are good questions! After all, as adults they will need to be able to access, process, and apply information more than recite a list of memorized facts.
What role can the iPhone or iPod Touch play in education? I’ve discovered countless ways to incorporate them into classroom activities and make the learning experience more rich and enjoyable. In this article, I’ll highlight a few of the apps we use in my 8th grade math class. (Separate references are provided for apps that have been updated for the iPad.)
Get the iPhone into the classroom
These few suggestions barely scratch the surface. A wide variety of apps are available for students and teachers alike (See articles on pages 64, 69, and 71) But the first thing to do is get the iPhone into your classroom Open up communications with your administration and show them the possibilities. It may take a little time to get them to buy in, so start doing it now! Go ahead and take the risk. If I can do it in a special education classroom, you should at least give it a try.