Sunday, June 30, 2013

More iPad Wisdom

iPads In The Classroom: Worth Doing Right

Educational 'Technology' Across the Ages
Educational 'Technology' Across the Ages
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Simply purchasing slick devices like iPads for the classroom is hardly a recipe for educational success. The temptation to do so is a symptom of an exciting, and perhaps confusing, time in educational technology. Never have students at all grades been more tech savvy, and never have educators had such an astounding range of technical resources available to them for pedagogical use. Let's talk about why iPad programs don't always succeed.

I serve as a wireless network architect and administrator, as well as a part-time faculty member at a private university, and I am parent of three kids who are growing up immersed in technology. I also spent a number of years as an advisor on a technical committee of a local K-12 district, wrestling with how to leverage various technologies that all seemed fascinating, but not easily stitched into the general fabric of the school day. I certainly don't have all of the answers on the topic of iPad initiatives, but I do have broad perspective.

[ Looking beyond the iPad: Texas School District Picks Dell Windows 8 Tablets.]

Also, a bit on iPads themselves is in order. Other tablet devices have made their way into plenty of classrooms, but the iPad has the educational market locked up as measured in volume sold. At the same time, most of my thoughts about iPads apply to all tablets regardless of make, and the challenges facing those who aspire to build educational programs on mobile devices.
Loosely defined, an iPad program puts the devices in the hands of students and faculty, and is intended to bring about the realization of some set of education goals. I break down the challenges with iPad programs into four general areas: the purpose of the program, the students, the teachers (and the K-12 districts/colleges they work for), and the technology itself. Here's where each can make trouble for an iPad program.

1. What's the purpose of the iPad program?

Click here to read on... (and do read on!)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tech Alone Not Enough, Teaching Needs to Change

From the Principal's Office: Transforming Our Schools by Changing Mindsets Not by Buying More Technology

 May 19, 2013 By: J. Robinson 

“Teacher mind frames are the most important enhancer and barrier to students’ learning.” Alan Bain and Mark Weston, The Learning Edge: What Technology Can Do to Educate All Children
Our relentless pursuit for some magical formula that will suddenly transform our schools is a fruitless quest. There are no magical formulas or tools, and there are no heroes who will ride into our schools and school districts and suddenly save the day and turn our schools into magical places of learning and engagement. If transformation is to happen, we need to stop pursuing 1:1 initiatives, new standards, new tests, next generation tests, longer school days, and the other latest and greatest educational gimmicks and get down to the real reasons why we can’t change our schools. Authors Bain and Weston offer some good advice: look to the mindsets of the educators in our schools and districts. That's where the real obstacles lie.

According to Bain and Weston, “Technology will not force its way into classrooms; for decades, teachers and schools have shown remarkable kickback,” and if you walk into any district that has spent thousands or millions on technological toys,  you will see what they are talking about. We look at all out technological toys and we ask ourselves:
  • “Why are our teachers not using these interactive boards?” 
  • “Why are those iPads sitting idle in the corner of the room?” 
  • “Why is it when I visit the classrooms in our school district I see little engagement with technology by the students, and mostly the kinds of teaching and learning that has been going on for the last 100 years or so?” 
I think the answers to these questions are rather simple: we put all this technology in our classrooms and schools, but we forget that many of our teachers simply look for ways to use the technology to help them teach as they always have, rather than look for new ways of teaching with the technology. Their mindset is the obstacle. (Administrators have that mindset too.)

If you really want to know why all that technology sits idle, it's probably because it does not fit the way your teachers teach and the way they have been teaching for the past 100 years or so. Too much of that teaching is still teachers talking, students sitting and listening. In these classrooms, some teachers determine that if the technology won't help them do school like they have been doing it, then they don’t need it. They don’t see the need to change how they are teaching, even though half their class stares up at them in glazed-eye stupor.

If we really want to transform teaching and learning in our schools and classrooms, perhaps we need to pause from all the technology buying, installing, and training and focus on the “mindsets” that our teachers and administrators have. We need to stop “automating the 20th century ways of teaching and learning” and pursue whole new ways of teaching and learning.

This post was found here. 

Creating Portfolios using iPads