Friday, March 29, 2013

iPads a Fit for Education?

Here's a short, 3 minute, video where Sam Gliksman, author of iPads for Dummies, shares his insights into why iPads are perfect for education:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Implementing a 1:1 Program

by Nick Sauers

I was recently asked by a friend to rec­om­mend some major steps as their school begins the process of decid­ing if and how they will become a 1:1 school.  My rec­om­men­da­tions follow:
  1. Cre­ate a lead­er­ship team
    • Include mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers on the team, and not just technophiles!  
    • Include stu­dents in the process.
    • Con­sider hav­ing sub­com­mit­tees that address var­i­ous topics.
    • Involve admin­is­tra­tors in the lead­er­ship team and the entire process.  They are key play­ers who will need to sup­port the initiative.
  2. Iden­tify the rea­son you are going to imple­ment 1:1
    • This may be the biggest prob­lem I see with 1:1 ini­tia­tives.  Con­vert­ing to 1:1 should not be your goal.  Iden­tify a change you want to see in your school that 1:1 can support.
    • That goal should align with your school’s mis­sion and vision, and not be some­thing that acts as a stand alone.
  3. Visit other schools
  • Iden­tify model schools and send teams to those schools.
  • Rather than send­ing a larger group to one school, send smaller groups to mul­ti­ple schools.
  • Include edu­ca­tors as well as stu­dents, board mem­bers, and com­mu­nity mem­bers in these visits

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PowerPoint Tips

10 Do’s and don’ts to using PowerPoint to deliver lectures that don’t suck

by Lisa Nielsen

Picture a half-full classroom with nearly-comatose students descending into the slow death that takes place while listening to a lecture that is as interesting as the buzzing of a mosquito that one cannot find in order to squash. It’s no secret that some teachers, even doctorates who work as college professors, suck when it comes to lecturing. Don’t let that be you!

We (especially students!) all know that not all lectures are created equal. Student AmberDawn Miley pointed this out in a discussion on Facebook when she said, “Just a thought. If teachers delivered like TED people. A lot more students would be tuned in.” (2012)

So what can educators do to make their lectures more engaging?

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iPads 4 Teaching Site

Click here for Kathy Schrock's iPad4Teaching Website:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How To Prepare Students For 21st Century Survival

by Jennifer Rita Nichols, TeachThought Intern

As educators, we constantly strive to prepare our students for the ‘real world’ that exists around them. We teach them how to read, write, and calculate. Then, of course, there are the less tangible skills we teach; such as how to work in a team, think critically, and be curious about the things they encounter each day.

We want to prepare them to lead productive and successful lives once they leave us and enter into the realm of adulthood. But what lies ahead for our students in the future? Did educators of twenty years ago know that so much of our world would be based on computers and technology now? Could they have known what skills would be needed in the job market today? Unlikely, but yet they had to do their best to prepare their students for this world anyhow. Nowadays, educators are still charged with the same complicated task – preparing students for the unknown.

Tony Wagner of Harvard University worked to uncover the 7 survival skills required for the 21st century. To accomplish this, hundreds of CEOs in business, non-profits and educational institutions were interviewed. A list of seven skills that people will need to survive and thrive in the 21st century was compiled from their answers.

We may not know exactly what lies ahead for our students in the future, but we have the advantage of knowing what skills they will need once they get there. Here are the 7 survival skills of the 21st century, along with how they may look being purposefully applied in a classroom.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads (And How To Correct Them)

Added by on 2012-09-27 to Edudemic

Over the last few years K-12 schools and districts across the country have been investing heavily in iPads for classroom use. EdTechTeacher has been leading iPad professional development at many of these schools and we’ve seen firsthand how they approach iPad integration.
While we’ve witnessed many effective approaches to incorporating iPads successfully in the classroom, we’re struck by the common mistakes many schools are making with iPads, mistakes that are in some cases crippling the success of these initiatives. We’re sharing these common challenges with you, so your school doesn’t have to make them.

1) Focusing on content apps

The most common mistake teachers make with iPads is focusing on subject-specific apps. In doing so, many completely overlook the full range of possibilities with the iPad. I think of a Latin teacher who declared the iPad useless because he couldn’t find a good Latin app.

It simply didn’t occur to him use the VoiceThread app to record his students speaking Latin, or perhaps create a collaborative discussion of Cicero. Or use the Animoto app for a lively student presentation on Latin vocabulary, or the Socrative app for a Latin quiz, or the Explain Everything app to create a grammar tutorial. There are so, so many possibilities, yet he was oblivious to them.

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Five Tips for Supporting iPads in the Classroom

Schools across the globe have begun investing in iPad tablet computers, hoping these devices will magically transform their learning environments. While there are countless examples of schools using iPads to redefine teaching and learning, the true magic in putting tablets in the classroom comes from effective teacher pedagogy and implementation models. So far this year, I've had the great fortune to launch or support 20 1-to-1 iPad classrooms. Here are five key tips I've learned along the way that might help teacher leaders and administrators embark on their own iPad initiatives:

1) One Classroom > Three Classrooms
Many schools purchase one or two iPad carts thinking that, like laptop or netbook carts, they can then be circulated throughout the building and checked out at will by interested teachers. Usually the rationale behind this is, "We spent X amount on iPads, so we want to get as many students' hands on them as possible." This model may work at times for devices like laptops, but it is not an effective use of iPads.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

What is the Best Device?

I have discovered in my career that to best prepare our students for their futures a 1:1 environment of student to computer or device is the best way to go. I've come to this conclusion from having students work in a lab, in my classroom with 10 computers, and in my classroom with one computer or device per student. I wrote about that evolution here:
Evolution of 1:1

I came across this post by a teacher who has found that having different devices, as opposed to every kid with an iPod or an iPad, works better for him.
 Why Mish-Mash is Better Than 1:1

I tend to agree. iPads have some definite benefits, as do other tablets, but they cannot replace a laptop. Yet. I do believe that tablets will continue to improve to the point where maybe they, or something like them, will replace our need for laptops and desktop computers. But we are not there yet.

The comments in the above Mish-Mash post were very interesting. One commenter in particular referenced a post he wrote showing how iPads are not what schools should be purchasing for students:
 Just Say NO to iPads for Education, Part 2: iPads Do NOT Meet Today’s Educational Needs

The article is a good read and definitely good for conversations we need to have as we decide what technology we plan to place in our kids hands. Personally, I do not agree with the author. I think that just because computers, specifically PC's, are the main device being used out in the "read world" now doesn't necessarily mean it will be when our primary, elementary, or even middle school kids graduate high school.

So even though I want us to discuss and share our thoughts about which device or devices we want to put into our children's hands, I am not against having a 1:1 iPad program. If possible, I would prefer having a 1:1 iPad and maybe Chromebook or Macbook program but I do believe we can do a good job of preparing our students to be successful with iPads.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

Al González

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)

The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal directed (i.e., reflective), authentic, and collaborative (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003). The TIM associates five levels of technology integration (i.e., entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation) with each of the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments. Together, the five levels of technology integration and the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments create a matrix of 25 cells as illustrated below.

Click here to access the TMI...   

Let's Hope Lots of Apps Stay Free!

The 55 Best Free Education Apps For iPad

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Kids Need Schools to Change

Why Kids Need Schools to Change

| By
The current structure of the school day is obsolete, most would agree. Created during the Industrial Age, the assembly line system we have in place now has little relevance to what we know kids actually need to thrive.

Most of us know this, and yet making room for the huge shift in the system that’s necessary has been difficult, if not impossible because of fear of the unknown, says educator Madeline Levine, author of Teach Your Children Well.

“People don’t like change, especially in times of great uncertainty,” she said. “People naturally go conservative and buckle down and don’t want to try something new. There are schools that are trying to do things differently, and although on the one hand they’re heralded as having terrific vision, they’re still seen as experimental.”

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The Passion Gap

Students Are Falling Through the Passion Gap in Schools

iPads in the Classroom

8 Studies Show iPads in the Classroom Improve Education

(click the title to see the studies)