As a Director of Educational Technology, my biggest challenge is giving students and teachers the guidance to help foster authentic and imaginative learning solutions with the help of technology. Its sounds glorious when I type it, yet in practice it sometimes seems near impossible.

When we launched our iPad 1:1 Pilot program as well as three classroom iPad carts, our philosophy has been centered around the SAMR Model coupled with content creation and curation based apps. This meant staying away from “Appcentric” Apps that either perform a singular function, or do not have the ability to export its content.

Today in the Advanced iPad Workshop with @GregKulowiec in addition to filling my brain with so much information it was ready to explode, we put a name to this philosophy.

It’s called App Fluency

and its my favorite new word. In the video above I used multiple apps to create a hopefully humorous video short about the difference between App Fluency and App Addiction. (Camera, Tellagami, Morfo, iMovie, Google Drive & Youtube) The process of App Fluency is that our experience with the iPad is not based on the iPad itself, but its ability to achieve a specific and hopefully lofty learning outcome. This means that our ability to glide seamlessly through multiple apps should be not only effortless, but effective, and with practice, invisible. Since our main focus is on achieving our goal, each App and the iPad itself is simply part of the tool kit to build the project.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 7.31.04 PM

While hammers and screw drivers have lost their technologically advanced luster, they are a reminder of how effective tools are when they become invisible.

We all know what it feels like to put together furniture from IKEA, and no one seems to get caught up with the screws, compressed particle board, or even the  “super useful” allen key.

 We see the pieces on the floor of our living space, and  close our eyes  envisioning a sturdy, complete, beautiful bookshelf that doesn’t take us an entire Sunday to put together. This is how a person needs to approach using an iPad as a learning tool. True, your IKEA bookshelf doesn’t have Angry Birds loaded on it, or the ability to stream movies from your Netflix account, but it has everything to do with how we view iPads as a tool for teaching and learning. 

@GregKulowiec wrote that if we “believe that […] pioneering the use of iPads and tablets in schools […] is about the iPad, then […] we have failed.”

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