In many schools, they have become as ubiquitous as backpacks and brown-bag lunches and even more favored than iPods. They are iPads, and many parents and educators have given up the quest for restraint in favor of applicability. In other words, as long as young people remain tethered to their iPads, why not press them into action at school?
One of the smartest ways to do this is to encourage students to keep track of their homework assignments, papers, projects, quizzes and tests through applications they can download on their iPads. And these are applications that far exceed the simple visual function of a weekly or monthly calendar.
An optimist would say that the iPad in general and apps in particular hold the potential of forever obliterating a dynamic in K-12 classrooms everywhere: that of the anxious student offering reasons – or excuses? – for why he or she has forgotten that day’s assignment. What comic relief could possibly substitute for some oldie-but-goodie and erstwhile assertions such as:
“I would’ve remembered the assignment if I had written it down, but I forgot.”
“I wrote down the assignment, but then my dog/cat/guinea pig chewed it up.”
“I wrote down the assignment and put it in my pocket. But then my mom washed my clothes last night, so the piece of paper got ruined.”
“I wrote down the assignment, but I used the paper I wrote it on as a bookmark in church and left it there by mistake.”
Since it’s highly unlikely that an iPad will be ingested by a small animal, fit in a pocket or used as a bookmark, that leaves swiftness of action as the only barrier to app success. In other words, students should make use of the apps as soon as possible – and even during class time, if a teacher allows. If not, students could voice-record their assignments and then update the app later to keep their school responsibilities current. (Why bother trusting such important information to the fallibility of paper?)
Students might find some iPad apps so much fun that they won’t need much prodding. Consider, for example:
As with all apps, it pays to compare and contrast features – before sliding an iPad into a protective case or brown-bag lunch for what can always be another truly memorable day at school.