Just this week I went to the EdTech Teacher iPad Summit at Harvard Med School. After two days surrounded by people immensely excited by how iPads (and other handheld devices) can and will change the face of education, I was finally inspired to start writing about my experiences. I am part of an iPad pilot team at the all boys high school where I teach Chemistry and Anatomy and Physiology. My Anatomy class will be getting iPads to use 24 hrs a day starting second semester. In preparation for that, I am trying to use the communal iPad cart as often as I can get my hands on it (which isn't all that often since I work with lots of other motivated and creative people also using the cart). I am working closely with the other 5 teachers and memebers of the tech department involved in the pilot. We meet weekly, give each other ideas, and generally talk, blog, email, and google-doc our experiences.
Anyway after two days at the conference two themes hit home:
1) Time! Teachers need more time to find ways to use iPads to transform learning. Particularly time to play with the iPads, to get crazy new ideas and to share apps and ideas with each other. It seems a lot of the school administrators I spoke to at the conference think teachers are resisting the iPad idea because teachers are stodgy or uncreative or afraid of losing control. In talking to teachers however, the problem seems to be more of one of time and support. Saying "we support you with the iPad" is one thing. Devoting paid time to play with apps, develop new ideas and practice is another.
2) The SAMR model:
The SAMR model basically says that iPads can be introduced into the classroom in many ways. The least helpful way (and most annoying way in my opinion) is just to substitute the iPad for the current tool, but not actually change the lesson at all. In some cases the iPad may be replacing something that already works well (i.e. take written copy-this-down notes on with this app instead of on paper). Although this can be fun and can reduce paper, this is not the best way to use the iPad. The real goal is to use iPads to do things we’ve never been able to do or maybe never even thought of before. I spent most of the conference taking notes on ideas I am developing to transform how the students learn, rather than on just what the presenters were saying. Now I just need the time to further explore my ideas, watch videos on line, read blogs, and figure out how to make them happen!!
The best session I attended at the conference was by 4 women from NTA in Chicago. Each of these presenters are currently teaching in the classroom (which, unfortunately is not who usually runs professional development sessions). These four teachers from Chicago described how they have introduced the iPad as a tool for learning in different ways. They discussed real ideas that are actually manageable and could be transformative as well. Over the course of this year I hope to update this blog with some of the ideas that I 'stole' and how I work to implement them in my classroom - as well as the ideas of my own that have springboarded from what I've learned. In the meantime, check out the blog of Jenni Magiera's: http://teachinglikeits2999.blogspot.com My fellow teacher Elizabeth showed this blog to me today and we realized it was one of the amazing presenters.
Ok -well this is a start. Until I actually have another free minute to write - have fun!