As part of a graduate course on new literacies, I did some research into what the studies say about the usefulness of iPad implementation in schools. Below is a synopsis on my research. (Full text is available here) I would appreciate any feedback or to hear what your thoughts are on using the iPad in schools.
The iPad adds itself as another tool available to educators as we support our students in achieving their content, literacy, and social skills. The iPad provides access to lively, interactive digital iBooks as well as being a gateway to the massive amount of information available on the web. The ability to consume that data in various ways such as eBooks, powerpoint slides, videos, animations and interactive simulations enhances the skills to make sense of information from various sources. Having a portable and capable computer readily available to the students gives them options in ways they can present data and showcase their learning through the same types of media that first presented them the information. Lastly, as our digital society becomes ever-increasingly connected, students will be afforded opportunities to collaborate online and share ideas and data with their peers and others around the world.
As with any technology, full implementation takes time, as well as does teacher training and adoption before we can see the full effects of iPads across grade levels and content areas. There are constraints that must be addressed, and with the relative newness of the technology, more long-term studies to assess the efficacy of the tool must be undertaken.