Every student got an iPad. Teacher says she regrets it.

Under the headline “I gave my students iPads — then wished I could take them back,” Hall explains, “My lively little kids stopped talking and adopted the bent-neck, plugged-in posture of tap, tap, swipe.”

Despite comprehensive training on how to incorporate iPads into daily instruction, Hall said the technical problems  — “bandwidth issues that slowed our lessons to a crawl, username issues followed by password issues followed by hundreds of selfies” — forced her to write lessons two ways so she always had a backup if the iPads did not work.


Yes, the iPads offered her students new and fun options. “They made faux commercials that aired on our school’s morning news; they recorded themselves explaining math problems; they produced movies about explorers, complete with soundtracks.” But Hall questions whether more was lost than gained, noting a decrease in hands-on learning, time outdoors and face-to-face interactions.

She concludes:

Classrooms run by worksheets won’t be magically transformed with tablets, and classrooms where teachers skillfully engage their students don’t need screens — and the extra baggage they introduce — to get great results.

Teachers striving to preserve precious space for conversation are not lazy, or afraid of change, or obstructionist. They believe that if our dining tables should be protected for in-depth discussion and focused attention, so, too, should our classrooms. They know that their young students live in the digital age, but the way children learn has not evolved so very fast. Kids still have to use their five senses, and, most of all, they have to talk to each other.

Her piece in the Post is worth your time. After you read it, let us know what you think.  In our zeal to bring computers into every classroom, have we ignored the downside?



Reader Comments 0


I recall the same type of conversation when calculators became affordable for the masses.  Math teachers pivoted and made the learning process more about the steps needed to solve the problem rather that simply focusing on the answer.  I'm sure we all experienced a case where we still got partial credit for a math problem because we showed our work yet may have made a simple math error that resulted in the wrong final answer.


Another problem I observed is the clear division between the haves and the have-nots. Of course, this was not in rooms where pads were given to children to take home, but it seemed to erect a wall--a few were already experienced users (and also ho-hum about the pads) and the others were wistful neophytes--overwhelmed initially, and jealous that they did not have these magical tools at home, also.

Technology is not the cure-all some out of the classroom types think it is.


Did she apply for and receive written approval from her PubEd superiors for her article in "The Washington Post?"