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
An inspiring conversation during my The Invisible iPad – Significant Learning Experiences Without Losing Your iPad session at EdTechTeacher’s Summit (ettsumit.org)
Invisible Technology in Theory is powerful. Its practical application for educators can be challenging, frustrating, and fill even the most confident learning facilitator with doubt. Invisible Technology empowers its user to be independent, collaborative, and truly shift learning into the 21st century. How do we measure its success? Is there a definitive technology yardstick to build confidence not only in the student, but in the teacher as well? What are our goals and skills we wish our students to acquire, develop, and reflect upon?
If our goal to create an army of App Savvy iPad Aficionados then we have utterly failed.
We are not trying to create students that successfully use technology, because they don’t actually need us for that. We have seen the viral videos of toddlers successfully executing in app purchases on their favorite game, and their digital literacy skills will only increase with their exposure to new technologies. My colleague Yossie Frankel stated it simply that,
We cannot confuse Digital Literacy (ICT) with 21st Century Competencies.
If we do, we rob our students of what we really can offer them, which is the ability to communicate, think critically, collaborate, solve problems, and create dynamic ways of internalizing information and sharing it with others. This is what our place is in 21st century learning. Yes, we will need to support them with certain technology skill building, suach as keyboarding skills, app fluency (Greg Kulowiec), best practices of sharing and store, and the certain nuances of utilizing technology tools, but this isnt a class or a workshop.
Students don’t need theoretical workshops, they want hands on action with a purpose.
As I wrote in my previous article, when we teach someone to effectively and properly use traditional tools, our reason is not for the tool itself but for what we are able to achieve. No one gets excited over using a welder, but its ability to connect difference pieces together to create something unique and useful from raw material, is where its value as a tool really shines. Our challenge with technology like the iPad is that it has so many different abilities, that the user is faced with a real dilemma of losing sight of what the tool accomplishes, for the experience of using the tool.
Before we even begin to think about how and where we place the iPad in our learning process, we have to concretize our goals, possible challenges, and the planned path of process. If we reach a point during the project and hit a road block, it can be flustered to not have even a rough outline to backtrack to a clear point of success. This all starts with identifying which skills we will need to use. In elementary and middle school, these skills need to be clear and simple so students know that right now they are “collaborating” or “problem solving”. We can expect these skills to be sub conscience as adults, but this is not realistic for most students below or even at high school level. At each grade level the following Learning and Innovation Skills can be acquired by students and built upon as they learn and grow.
Learning and Innovation Skills (the 7 C’s) + (2 P’s)
Once our skill sets are assessed, we then can use these skills in our PBL experiences. Bloom’s Taxonomy, ISTE 21st Century Standards, UNESCO Competency Framework, are all great sources to teach these foundational skills. Many confuse the SAMR Model as a way to learn. The SAMR Model, is not viable method for learning. Its success is in measuring and assessing effective use of technology in our learning.
The challenge for educators, especially Directors of Educational Technology, Innovation, etc. is that we need to not limit how our teachers teach, but to focus on the foundational skills, and provide a clear and concrete formula for how different technological devices and applications will enhance these skills and give a learner the ability to create a product that will change the world.
How to translate this vision to a tangible process is a challenge. In the next few weeks I will be featuring guest articles from faculty members that have successfully integrated technology into learning.
Im having trouble locating the iPad though, must be that invisible thing.
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.