by Aaron Hovel
First off, WOW!!!! That is how I feel about the first couple of weeks with iPads in the Upper School. Yes there have been bumps, and of course we are going to continue to learn along the way, but I am amazed at how the US faculty have stepped up to the challenge. The sheer number of new things that faculty have had to incorporate into their teaching repertoire is incredible. That effort has made the start of the school year smooth for students and parents have noticed too. Many parents commented at the Upper School BTSN about how impressed they were with the use, instruction, and organization of the iPad program. Nice work!!! and Thank You!!!!
Now on to the regularly scheduled program.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have read many newspaper articles and received questions from family, parents, and colleagues all concerned that technology was going to reduce the face to face time with students and teachers. That instead of direct student to student and teacher to student conversations students would be staring at their screens. I agree that this could happen. There can be a tendency to try to replace all past classroom procedures, lessons, and processes with the analog activity on the iPad. After all, parents just purchased expensive devices for their children. If we don’t use them, it will be a waste, right? The thing is, if all that we accomplish is to create a direct analog of everything we use to do, on the iPad, we will have failed miserably. The old saying still goes. “Use technology to do things that otherwise couldn’t be done without it.” That is why it is important to have clear goals around the use of the iPad. The 1to1 committee set the follow goals for the initiative.
Curation – develop skills that will help evaluate and organize vast amounts of information, so it can be retrieved later.
Creation – design and share information for global communities.
Collaboration – build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally.
Communication – facilitate creative expression of knowledge and understanding through a variety of media.
As US faculty develop or rework curriculum to include the iPad, they will be focusing their efforts on activities, lessons, and projects that focus on curation, creation, collaboration, and communication. When we focus on these goals, the iPad becomes a powerful internet connected creation device not a tool that must be used in all aspects of the classroom that takes away valuable student teacher interaction.
The first couple weeks of school have been focused on curation. Setting up folders in Google Drive and Nobility so that students can organize and share work with teachers, creating bookmarks so that students can quickly access their schedule and homework sites, and learning to use “Remember the Milk” to record their homework. More on curation in a future posts. As the year continues, we will stay focused on the goals set by the 1to1 committee and continue to have conversations and face to face time with our colleagues and students.
Thoughts? Join the coversation. Add a comment to this blog so all can benefit or swing by the tech office and tell me what you think.