Laptop vs. i-Pad? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Laptop vs. i-Pad?

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

If you stop into a senior or junior science class at Malcolm Price Laboratory Schools, you'll see students conducting, what looks like, a typical science experiment. But I'm guessing you never kept track of your work by snapping a shot on your i-Pad.

This year, every high schooler at MPLS has either an i-Pad or a laptop, and they're finding new ways to use them in the classroom every day.

"I had students out yesterday down at our campus creek taking photos so they can later go back and analyze their photos and relate them to the concepts that we're learning. So you can do things that just weren't possible before," said biology teacher Laura Walter.

The new technology and the one-to-one computer implementation is exciting, but it's not new to Iowa. What is different, is the school is planning to study how students are learning with the technology.

"Rather than researching some kids get a device and some kids don't, they're saying -- lets give every kid a device, but lets give them different ones and see which has the most power in terms of learning potential," said Scott McLeod, a researcher of implementing new technology in schools.

Each device has strengths and weaknesses. For example, the seniors struggle a bit to take photos using the laptop camera, while the juniors are taking ample shots with their i-Pads. But it is a little easier to write out the findings on a traditional keyboard versus a touch screen.

Whether you think i-Pads or laptops are the better choice for kids, educators say, either one is an improvement over a pen and paper.

"We still send kids to do knowledge work in a knowledge environment, using notebooks and three-ring binders. Nobody in the real world does knowledge work this way," said McLeod.

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