In the course of the School Science project we have discovered that an increasing number of schools are bringing iPads into the classroom, either as mobile ‘class sets’ of devices to be used as and when required, or by giving one to each student to use as and when required in lessons and for homework. The issue of how to use these devices was prominent at a Science teacher CPD event we attended, where there were several sessions on ‘which app to use?’ The question about whether or not to use them at all seemed to be a much more challenging one (although one that many of the teachers were interested in), and bearing in mind that the iPad was originally created as a device for consuming media, we began to look into the kinds of claims made for using it in education. By chance, Patrick then shared with us a video from the 1950s about B.F. Skinner’s teaching machine and programmed learning, and we were collectively struck by the many similar claims made for the two devices….
At the end of the school science project we showed this video to some trainee teachers and shared the project’s findings with them. It probably wasn’t quite what they expected from a presentation which they thought was going to be about using tablets in the classroom!