Maybe this blog entry is too basic---maybe it's good to go back to the basics. Here's my latest:
My language-impaired kids often know very little about what they are reading, or what people are talking about. Having an iPad handy offers a window to the world and an instant visual dictionary. Here are a few examples:
The concept of 'circus' came up in a set of picture cards during a language therapy session. The child, being Burmese, and having spent half her life in a refugee camp, had no idea what this was. The iPad came out, google images flashed on, and images of circus performers appeared. This offered both a joint reference for our conversation, and a springboard to further questions/answers. The iPad made this impromptu lesson super quick and easy.
mentoring time. I'm finding my mentee's concepts of geography sorely lacking---part due to a lack of travel opportunities, and part due to inadequate teaching in the schools (I teach in the same school system, so we all should take the blame). It's also partly a problem stemming from the current emphasis on standardized testing---geography is not tested, so it's largely ignored, especially at the elementary level. So, when I first met my mentee, she couldn't tell me what state she lived in---I think she can now. We took a trip to Asheville, so she knows now about the mountains. Our next trip possibly will be Atlanta! There is a great aquarium there! She was confused about the relationship between Atlanta and Georgia (didn't realize the fact that Atlanta is IN Georgia). I whipped out the iPad, and showed her a map, giving us something to talk about, and a springboard for more conversation about a possible trip there.
These above examples don't necessarily need an iPad---any computer would work. However, the ease of use, the portability and the interactive touch screen, make the iPad a very convenient window to the world for my kids, for all kids. Even for adults!