Apple™, iPad, Technology

I Preordered the iPad Pro and I am Scared

I love the iPad. I find it to be one of the most amazing computing devices of the past two decades. It’s tactile and model experiences are untouched by any of its competition, and while some will gripe at its premium price, I will smile and say its worth it. I have iPad 2’s at my school that are albeit a bit sluggishly running iMovie on iOS 9 yet I would be surprised to hear of a netbook, chromebook, or even a laptop holding up that long (4 years) in an educational environment.

Still, we must be clear that the iPad is NOT a computer replacement for everyone.

Apple boldly said in their March Keynote that the iPad pro is in fact a computer replacement, it is missing a serious demographic, and that is creative professionals. If you are a business person or someone that needs simple programs and multitasking, then the iPad Pro models might work for you. Continue reading

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Apple™, Education, iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

Rewriting History with Book Creator

One of the challenges of teaching history is that it doesn’t change much. While there may be a discovery here and there, it is rare that any sort of drastic discovery might alter the learning experience of a student in history class. Thanks to various technology innovations like the internet and computing technology, this challenge can also be turned into history. That is if as an educator we are willing to be open to the possibility that we are not the all knowing fountain of knowledge, and that our 20-year old textbook might need an upgrade? But who can afford textbooks?!!?

Worry not! We have a classroom of historical researchers and thinkers and the tools to empower them to create their own history book.

In an 8th-grade history class, we did just that. In collaboration with Ilana Zadok, 8th-grade history teacher, we set out to challenge our students to build their own Revolutionary War publication. We wanted it to be something that is 100% student-produced with the goal that others could learn and in the end benefit from the students work. Our students set out to research various events of the Revolutionary War, focusing on primary sources and first-hand encounters. With this research in hand students because to create a window into the past. Through creative writing, photos, and student-produced films these events began to take life through the lens of the students. With all of this amazing content gathered and produced we were at a loss of where to compile it and share it out.

Book Creator to the Rescue!

bookcreator-icon

After the content was created students imported it into Book Creator and used its features to layout an interactive book full of written, visual, and audial expressions. Each group of students then created an assessment quiz at the end to demonstrate their understanding of the content and to challenge their peers to delve deep into their work. In the end students learned from their peers gaining a deep understanding of a specific Revolutionary event and a general overview of the entire war. With the success of this unit, there was so much more accomplished besides the memorization of battles and soldiers. Students developed important skills in communication, both visually, and verbally. Collaboration, Cooperation, Organization, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving all played a role in this production.

The end result was an 110-page publication that pushed the limits of student learning and technology itself. The Book Creator file was 1GB and due to its size would not export from the iPad. With a little bit of praying and 4 hours of work on my part, I was able to get the file down to 610MB without sacrificing one iota of student work and airdrop it to the students iPads to experience their hard work first hand.

Here are a few screenshots and videos from the publication.

Enjoy.Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 11.50.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 11.50.40 AM

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Conference Presentation

The Invisible iPad – Audience Perspectives

 

An inspiring conversation during my  The Invisible iPad – Significant Learning Experiences Without Losing Your iPad session at EdTechTeacher’s Summit (ettsumit.org)

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App Fluency, Apple™, EdTechTeacher iPad Summit, Education, iPad, Technology

The Invisible iPad

InvisibleiPad

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.

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