iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

5 Ways The iPad Revolutionized Education

5WaysTheiPadRevolutionizedEducation

The truth is, that it isn’t just the iPad. Tablet technology has revolutionized education. It has such potential to completely transform student learning, when used in a purposeful and thoughtful manner. Bonus #6 is that it’s mobile and agile unlike its laptop cousins. It is in this respect that where and how we learn is only limited to our WiFi access. You can deep sea dive with an iPad. I can’t imagine doing the same thing with a Chromebook or even a Macbook Pro.

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Education, Social Media

How to Turn Social Media Into Social Impact

Humankind thrives off sharing. It’s part of our genetic makeup and one of the driving forces behind all technological innovation, period. Even the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions could be said to have been built on the premise that a more streamlined process of production would allow more free time to, well, share. Stories, ideas, messages, the platforms have changed, but the message is the same.

I want to share my story, and I want to hear yours too, even if it’s what you had for breakfast.

Continue reading

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Apple™, Education, iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

Think Different, More Than Just a Choice of Device

It was 1997 and Apple challenged the world to “Think Different”This cliché is more than meets the eye, speaking more about the decision not go with the status quo device than a challenge for us as innovators and users of technology to use their devices to, think different. This is because 1997 was the same year that Apple almost went bankrupt. Twenty years later, we see Apple is a leading technology company, one who continues to push the limits of how technology can shape our future. Continue reading

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Education

Technology, But Why?

In education when we talk about using technology it inevitably starts with what resources are available, the training needed to operate them, and how, or who to go to when things break. With the “how” at the helm of vision and strategic planning, we inevitably run into the same problem no matter how sound and well thought out our plan is. After all is said an done,

Like any experience dependent on a single device, what happens when the magic wears off?

This is because when we start with how, even if how is 10,000 apps, 50,000 lessons, and 100,000 possibilities, we unintentionally limit ourselves, and our students. The reason for this is that

Technology is not just a device, technology is a solution…

to a problem, a challenge, and any obstacle that we face as lifelong learners. We want to make sure it is the solution to reach as far as our minds can get us. This is why as educators, we must look at all educational experiences first through the lens of “Why“. This is not unique to technology integration, this is a reflection on our own pedagogy, choice of content, and reasoning for focusing on any point of knowledge. When we start with the question of “Why” in respect to technology use, then we now can analyze what the tool is doing for us. The question of speed, precision, maximized potential, exposure, audience and the impact we make. When we speak on those terms, and not iPads, iMovies, animations, (Explain Everythings are O.K, of course), than we make our devices unlimited, and all the more so ourselves.

What happens when someone walks into your technology infused classroom and asks your students what they are doing? They should be describing a process of learning, researching, discovering, building, reviewing, reflecting, and producing meaningful learning experiences. This makes technology invisible. This makes its effects have a visible, memorable, and everlasting impact.

It inspires our students to inspire others with their wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. So how did begin to talk this language? Start with the “Why“, not the How. How is secondary. Why am I doing this? Why is this learning so critical to invest so much time into? Why am I learning such complex technical process? Why am I spending hours building an interactive multimedia experience? If the answer is “It will make the learning unforgettable for both the producer, and the consumer” and then I think we are headed on the right track.

This will allow the “How” to be simpler, more organic, and most importantly adaptable. Yes, there is training, experimentation, failure, and frustration involved, as is anything complicate but worthwhile. It could come in the form of professional development, impromptu brainstorming with a colleague, or even learning some tips and tricks from the quiet kid in the class. As educators we must let go of the fallacy that without being an expert in a specific process or field of study that we cannot share with our students and open up new possibilities for them.

For more on the “How To” of tech integration check out

Monica Burns – ClassTechTips

Lisa Johnson – TechChef4U

Richard Byrne – FreeTech4Teachers

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21st-Century Competencies, Education, Google™, Technology

“In Formation” – Approaching Information Literacy

We live in a world that is completely saturated with information. Whether we are creating or consuming, the internet has become a massive storehouse of information that is constantly in formation. A colleague of mine, Scott McLeod (follow him on twitter), co-authored a series of videos called, “Shift Happens” which, among other things, call to light the rapid pace of our quest to be informed. 2006 experienced 2.7 billion searches per month, and in 2008 it was at 31 billion. Comedian Pete Homles said humorously, “We know everything. Google, wait two seconds and you will know.” With this wealth of information comes a great responsibility for us as educators to help our students effectively and efficiently navigate, filter, and process information as aspiring life-long learners.

Since Information Literacy is not just about access, but assessment, one of the best ways to help students develop Information Literacy skills is by showing them a model of this process. Once upon a time, Wikipedia was a near curse word in the classroom. Today, it is one of the leading organizers of information. Through the lens of Wikipedia, students can be exposed to various levels of information quality. For example, when searching “Information Literacy,” further reading suggests that the article was built from sources in academia, government, and education think tanks. The page also begins with an interesting disclaimer; “The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.” This adds another element into the challenge of Information Literacy. It’s not enough to just access information, or even to verify its authenticity. A new challenge is to understand how information gives us the ability to connect as a global community and how communities differ in the value and perspective of information. 

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21st-Century Competencies, Education, iPad, PBL, Technology Integration

The Third Grade Teacher

I have been working on this article for awhile. When I saw this post during the #1to1techat on twitter I finally knew how to phrase it.

Students teaching students is totally awesome meaningful learning.

Becoming a teacher might not be on everyones bucket list but after watching eight year olds teaching eight year olds about native american life, I hope they realize just how powerful the ability to educate someone really is. Being in charge of other peoples learning was a new experience for these third graders. I began the conversation by asking them the following question,

How do you know how much you know? 

One answer is, teach it to someone else. Our next challenge? If our students are able to become independent learners working towards becoming facilitators of learning, then where does that leave us as the “real educators” in the classroom? The massive outpour of information as well as the technology to harness its power actually leaves educators with a very powerful and humble mission.

It empowers us to help students become caring, thoughtful, and serious learners. 

If we choose to answer this calling and put aside our slightly bruised ego and title of sage on the stage, then the student, teacher, and technology partnership can begin to create some truly awesome results.

Third Grade Native American Tribal Life Project

in collaboration with Deborah Littman and Joanna Benporat, 3rd grade classes

Digital Publication using Book Creator for the iPad

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The initial planning phase of the project went very routine. Questions of purpose, time spent, objectives, and curriculum alignment were asked. Questions about student’s understanding of the applications of choice were answered. We projected the project would integrate technology between the A and the M on the SAMR model due to its use of audio-visual capabilities as well as how the technology would allow the learning to be shared. The objective of the student was to demonstrate their knowledge of a Native American tribes to the class. After reflecting on the final outcome of the project, we compared the projects use of technology to how the project was accomplished by traditional means.

21st-Century Skill Acquisition

Traditional Method

Learning With Technology

Oral Communication

5/10

8/10

Visual Presentation

7/10

7/10

Understanding of Content

7/10

8/10

Cooperation and Collaboration

5/10

10/10

Engagement and Enthusiasm

6/10

10/10

Organization and Time Management

5/10

9/10

Students as Facilitators

3/10

9/10

Now each one of these skill sets that students developed during this project have a specific objective.

Oral Communication: Through the use of audio recording and filming, students had the ability to clearly and effectively share their learning with other people in an engaging way that gave the viewer a sense of choice. The traditional method consisted of students presenting in groups in the front of the class reading from index cards.

Visual Presentation: The traditional method consisted of hand made poster boards and dioramas. In the past digital slideshows such as PowerPoint we used as well. Using the iPad students could create an audio-visual multimedia presentation that incorporated hand made artifacts into the project.

Understanding of Content: Many of the traditional methods of learning were still utilized by students including reading from books, note taking, and basic researching. The information was internalized further through the use of multimedia such as audio record, video filming, drawing, and creative writing.

Cooperation and Collaboration: Through the use of technology, this area yields unbelievable results in respect to frequency and sustainability of student partnerships. Students in traditional group projects tend to have one dominant student or have other students who lack motivation to fulfill their group responsibilities. Through the use of the iPad students were able to work independently, build off each others ideas, and help their peers create better quality work.

Engagement and Enthusiasm: At this point in our 1:1 program the “iPad excitement” has worn off. Students were engaged on a much higher level due to the personalized learning experience that allow for independence, choice, and serious ownership over their work. Students were not only enthusiastic to create something their peers would see, but even more so when they worked on traditional worksheets answering questions based on viewing their peers projects.

Organization and Time Management: This is a hit or miss with technology. Technology in of itself doesn’t make either of these qualities shine, but with the proper mindset students can use technology as a powerful tool to develop these critical skills. Having all their work in the cloud to work on at home and use the iPads together in class did contribute to success in this area.

Students as Facilitators: This was the best part of the entire experience. Students were on inspirational fire as they shared their learning and made sure students understood the valuable information that they had learned. Students concluded this unit with an in-depth understanding of a specific piece of the unit, as well as a general albeit superficial understanding of the rest of the unit due to their peers amazing ability to share their learning in a serious, but fun and engaging way.

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Education, iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

None to One: Thoughts On Year One of 1:1

iPadProgram

Imagine, a school where every student has a mobile device. Freed from the chains of classroom walls, outdated textbooks, and the grip of an all-knowing authoritarian teacher. A place where students carve out their own destiny through thoughtful and innovative learning experiences that not only result in a gain of knowledge, but character and life experience as well. Now wake up. Welcome to an edtech fairytale that simply does not exist – yet.

We all want to be there, but the question is how?

Since spending $1 billion dollars doesn’t guarentee success, and no amount of passion and determination will launch a costly technology project into reality, how is a school able to harness the power of mobile technology as a learning tool in a way that supports authentic learning?

How we did it

There is no magic formula for success. Every school culture is different and the Director of Educational Technology has little to do with an organic and sustainable 1:1 environment. During the 2013-2014 school year, we launched phase one of our iPad Program distributing 130 iPads to faculty and students, as well as a Macbook Mobile Lab with 30 laptops. This coming fall we will launch phase two adding another 110 iPad devices.

This is what we did, and how we did it (and didn’t).

Professional Development:

I worked with a handful of educators for a full year supporting carefully guided projects with a set of 10 iPads. Students were always two or three to one, and no project launched without careful planning and focus on learning objectives that kept the iPad in check as a tool and not a solution. In June and August before the fall launch, we had a mandatory three day iPad Bootcamp for all 4th through 8th grade faculty led by our principle, Jason Ablin, and myself. Faculty learned how to use an iPad through collaborative projects that demonstrated the iPad’s power as a learning tool and helped build confidence for faculty that would have these devices in the hands of their students on a regular basis.

1:1 Student Launch:

This is an area where schools need to be very careful. No amount of teacher buy-in, and parent support can make this program a success without the students. When we toured Hillbrook in Los Gatos, Don Orth shared with us how they release iPads into the wild. It’s a method that we did not use, but retroactively wish we did and plan to use in the future. Instead of handing iPads to students and then working on digital citizenship, literacy, and expectations of learning, they flipped that process. Based on his advice, our fall 2014-2015 launch will be as follows.

During the first 30 days of school, students in the 1:1 iPad Program will work towards a educational technology certification that will demonstrate their proficiency in Digital Literacy with the iPad and Google Apps, as well as Digital Citizenship and 21st-Century Competencies. Students will not be able to take their iPad home until they become certified. In addition to the basic certification, student will have an opportunity to get certified as a student technology leader.

This past year we launched 1:1 iPads after a full day workshop with students and 1 parent. We had Lori Getz come 3 times to speak with students and parents on the social and emotional challenges and benefits of technology and internet use. We offered “Tech Cafe” events for parents as well. During the year, I taught the Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship curriculum to classes culminating in me becoming a Common Sense Media Certified Educator.

This process worked well, but the soft launch seems to offer better opportunity for conversation about how we use, and would like to use technology.

Faculty Support:

This is another crucial area. Workshops are great, but the faculty in the first two years needs to know there is someone in the building that is supporting them above and beyond. I work with faculty members daily supporting them in integrating iPad technology into current curriculum, as well as build up confidence to create new projects using the SAMR Model, ISTE & UNESCO Standards, and Gartner’s Hype Cycle. Together we documented our plan, our challenges, and closely record the process from start to finish. At the end of the project, we debriefed to determine how to better manage the project in the future.

Digital Literacy:

I worked with faculty and students on digital literacy.

I am a true believer that our students are digital natives, and do not need to be trained on how to operate technology devices, but they, without question, need guidance on efficient, organized, and focused uses of technology.

Thank G-d, we have an amazing and truly innovative faculty. Their willingness to grow as educators, as well as find new ways to help students explore, is the key ingredient in the success of any type of program that supports education. Stay tuned for Phase 2 this fall.

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