In history classes, most of our use of textbooks is for homework reading – preparation for activities and discussions in the classroom the next day. They rarely are asked to bring their books to class. Depending on the configuration of the history ibook, I could envision them engaging students in more interesting and interactive ways. For example, the ibook could illustrate change over time (like for the spread of a religion or political conquest) in a more dynamic way. Perhaps they could include more interactive representations of historical artifacts (perhaps 3-D) or even include reenactments (a la documentary filmmaking). It seems like some of these are already available – i.e. through the internet or through film. However, to have the resources more centralized, directly resulting from and made explicitly for the book’s curriculum would be much more useful.
One thing that I like about this TALL is that it is very practical, and even though I know I’m barely scratching the surface of uses for the iPad as a teaching tool, I appreciate the built-in time to play with the tecthnology. I sometimes have felt overwhelmed by the possibilities and by the thousands (and thousands)of apps available, but these guided activities like today’s timeline and the sharing of apps that we each have found are very useful.
Since our first TALL session, I realized that my personality is not as ‘tech’ as I thought. By this I mean that by the time I get home after a long day and finish the most pressing work I have to get done, I’m not as likely to pick up yet another piece of technology to play with. However, I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to build time into my schedule that is specifically dedicated to exploring the iPad, and recently I’ve been using it to stream live news sources. I’ve downloaded Apps for Le Monde, Al-Jazeera, the NY Times, and NPR, and have been watching and listening to their broadcasts in the evenings. Little by little, I hope that using the iPad will become second nature.