Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No Shirt, No Shoes, No iPads

I received an email this afternoon from a colleague who wanted to share a story and raise a number of questions. 

A teacher just told me that someone she knows has a daughter who is part of the LPN program. The girl pays tuition because she is an adult. Well, they were asked to purchase a bunch of books and the girl did, but on her iPad. Well, when she went to class the teacher told her that she could not use it, that she needed the books. So, they had to re-purchase the books and a rolling suitcase to carry them around.

It's taken me a bit of time to wrap my head around this. I have found myself debating this situation as both a parent and as an educator. The parent side of me would have demanded to speak with the principal/director/supervisor. I would have raised hell for a lack of better words. Why can't my child use his/her iPad to access their textbook, class notes, etc.? What's the difference between the ebook and the regular textbook? Where in the syllabus does it say that the textbooks have to be actual printed textbooks? 

I can assume that the supervisor and or teacher would have begun pointing to various policies and procedures that have been set forth by the learning institutions. "We're sorry - such and such learning institution has a strict ban on student-owned technology devices in the classroom. This policy includes the use of cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices."

This drives me absolutely insane! In my opinion there is no reason why that student could not use his/her iPad to access the ebooks that they downloaded for his/her course. It's even more infuriating that this is a continuing education/adult education program and the instructor has an issue with another adult using his/her iPad to access their ebook.

This happens in continuing education programs; this happens in K12 public programs. Again, we expect our students to walk in, unplug, and go to class. Why? Why do we have to unplug? Why do we have to leave our computers, our tablets, our smartphones at home, in our lockers, in our bags? Why can't we download our textbooks onto our iPad, take notes on our laptops, and look up answers on our smartphone? 

Obviously, we need to have a plan in place. We need to figure out the particulars before allowing the students to stay plugged in. However, we should not limit our students from accessing technology - from learning! 

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