Educational Technology is maturing, and it is without question that the instructors at EdTechTeacher, and the presenters they feature are leading the way. In 2012, I felt a whirlwind as apps arrive on the scene. Full of new features, new upgrades, they came in droves. There was so much new to be seen. As the years have passed, “1,000 Free Apps” sessions have made way for more thoughtful and intentional discussions about technology. Continue reading
If this event becomes a meeting about how we got rid of power cords, extended battery life, and solved workflow challenges with some neat app, then we fail.
The iPad summit is not about the iPad
With these words, Greg Kulowiec had me hooked. Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, we have seen a revolutionary transformation in how we create, consume, and communicate. Whether the iPad is an authentic educational tool is not relavant, because
it’s not about the iPad.
Is the automobile an authentic education tool? What about the refrigerator? Revolutionary inventions are not about the invention itself, but whats the invention gives use the ability to do. A truly revolutionary invention should in time become invisible. No longer is it viewed as something special, yet its effects are far reaching. The lightbulb changed the way the world functioned. The world was no longer bound to productivity during daylight, or the length of time it takes your oil lamp to burn up. It was about what you would be able to do because now there was a constant and stable source of light.
While the iPad does a little more than a lightbulb, its success in eduction is on the principle that the iPad does the same for learners as the lightbulb.
It liberates us from the limitations of creative tools, the challenges of access to quality content, as well as our source of inspiration, and innovation being based on geographic location.
Yes, the iPad needs to be invisible because we are searching for something deeper than a manipulative touch screen device. We are looking to start a conversation, create a personal expression, and to fashion a brick in a collaborative digital structure.
Before the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit, I understood the philosophy, but I lacked the language to express it with words like App Fluency and App Smashing, as well as the support of like minded visionaries with more experience than myself. This and more I found at the #ettipad conference. In the past I have written about the process of integrating technology into education and its correlation to the experience of building something by hand. When we build something, our tools are chosen keeping in mind their quality, versatility, and ease of use. A responsible individual does not put someone in front of a table saw and say, “Good Luck!”, so why do we drop an iPad in someones lap and do just that? Cutting off a finger is not the only danger of using technology wrong, and I see it time and time again with the iPad.
The iPad isnt a great way to take a test, or read a book, or even create a movie. It isn’t enough to change how we use the iPad, but why we use the iPad, or any other device for that matter.
We use technology to liberate ourselves from mundane robotic like tasks that lack any sort of creative drive or purpose. A robot can memorize 100 vocabulary words, the question is now, what do we do with those words? Do we use them for creative expression, or do we let them collect dust in the deep recesses of our brain? Technology is not here to make us lazy, or to avoid basic communication skills, but
it is here to make us think critically, solve problems, collaborate, communicate, create, and ideate.
These words have far surpassed cliché status in education, as if they are the key to tagging successful learning outcomes, but the truth is that when the iPad is invisible, you really get to see those words in action.
As long as our focus is on learning outcomes and the experience it brings, then the this just might be the best iPad experience yet.
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.
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.”
Today is February 3rd, which is three days shy of six months since my last blog article.
So, hello again, allow me to re-introduce myself….
This year ISTE ’14 is going to be on the Jewish Sabbath which means that I would be unable to attend the first day of the conference. While disappointment would be an appropriate emotional reaction, I am a firm believer of Hashgacha Pratis (Divine Intervention) which means that although I cannot understand why, ISTE being on Shabbat was,
literally the best thing that could possible happen to me.
In November when my principal returned from an EdTech Conference in Boston, he informed me that I would be attending the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Feburary with 4 faculty members.
Now, thats what we call Hashgacha Pratis!
Day one of #ettipad was a jam packed 6 hour Pre-Conference workshop. It was led by @gregkulowiec who has an geshkmack (Yiddish: Extremely Awesome) way of integrating technology into learning. From a “1 screen” App Limit, to App Smashing, my head is literally about to explode!
The bottom line of todays workshop?
App Fluency Vs. App Addiction
Thats a whole blog post unto its own…