Use of the Ipad in an ESL Classroom

Based on today’s generational habits, schools don’t have any other choice than to adapt themselves. Therefore, textbooks and worksheets have been taken over by iPads and computers. Most teachers that have been teaching for several years do have a hard time getting used to it, but the ones just starting are motivated to try new technologies. Worksheets and textbooks are not completely obsolete, but they have given place to new material.

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iPads are very useful in any classroom, from a science to a language course. It gives students a fast access to a thesaurus and a dictionary, which is very practical for an ESL classroom. With the dictionary or thesaurus application right in front of them, students will get used to looking up words instead of putting their hand up each time they have a question. An advantage of working with iPads is that students can hand in their projects/homework automatically and ”the pupils learn more efficiently as they get instant feedback” – Anne Laure Bazin (assistant head teach at Mont Bay Academy in Cornwall). That way, students still remember what they handed in and can understand better the corrections without reviewing everything.

It is also more simple for teachers because they can share more easily their resources with other teachers. It is more practical since the teacher can take the attendance and send it directly to the school direction. Ipads have the advantage of offering a variety of different applications, that can offer classroom management help, quizzes , games, storytelling, note taking, audio recording, dictionary, etc. Since all students learn differently it is useful to have an iPad that the teacher can customize according to each of their level of learning (ex. Download a podcast or an image). Ipads are useful for an ESL classroom because a simple tool like MeteoMedia can help students (maybe this time elementary students) with getting to know their weather expressions. All the students have immediate access to a lot content. The fact that students use Ipads in their ESL class and not in their other classes, makes this one more attractive to the students. Often English, is not the class that students like to participate in, this might motivate students to participate and speak the target language. ESL teachers can create their own interactive material that works best for their students, because they know them very well. A teacher can also share their notes or make students follow a power point presentation while the teacher is giving the lesson. Having the chance to be in direct contact with notes and move them around according to their own way of learning, helps students learn instead of memorizing. Such as Brandi McWilliams (English Teacher) said: ”They don’t just memorize the book, they don’t just spit it back our for me, they know it because they’re involved in it, they’re visualizing it, and they’re making a movie in their head about it.” Getting students involved, helps them learn better.

I think that yes it does have a lot of advantages but I feel like students forget how to write. What I mean by this is that since everything is autocorrected by an iPad application, the student doesn’t understand his mistakes and can’t concentrate on improving them. Students become dependent of the iPad, so they, according to me, forget to read real books! Another disadvantage is that often in a class, there are always plenty of students that do not have their iPads with them, either because they forgot it, they are being repaired or even waiting to be repaired.

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