Sunday, March 9, 2014

The iPad or the iPuter?

The iPad or the iPuter?

When our school decided to go 1:1 with iPads, I thought it was a cool idea.  However, in all honesty, I didn't get it.  At all.  Don't get me wrong, I am one of the biggest advocates for integrating technology into the classroom, but I didn't understand how the iPads would fit in.  Even as I made my way through our iPad boot camp which was run tremendously well by our new Principal, @jasonablin (newbie to twitter, please follow), I didn't understand why we didn't get MacBooks.  True, the iPads were mobile, and had a plethora of wonderful apps, but the iPads were also incredibly frustrating to type on.  I had grown very accustomed to using web-based tools.  All of the web-based tools I frequently used, would work on MacBooks such as Nearpod, Prezi, Schoology, and Evernote to name a few.

I began the school year researching, going through countless hours of trial and error, and trying to soak up everything I could about iPads in education.  I began to realize that I had to stop thinking of the iPad as a computer; as an "iPuter".  Our director of tech @thetechrabbi does an amazing job guiding the teachers towards this vision.  This concept really clicked for me though, when I attended the EdtechTeacher Ipad conference (#ettipad) in San Diego.  I heard from many of the stars of my PLN such as: +Holly Clark and +Greg Kulowiec who drove this idea home. 



Using the iPad in the classroom is a commitment.  It's committing to completely changing the way we teach and changing the way our students learn (compare the top picture above with the 2 pictures below it). @gcouros said it best: "If you want your kids to hate iPads, but your textbook on it".  The iPads have to completely change the way we educate, and not merely provide a "cool factor". 

 
On a practical basis, the iPads are incredibly intuitive, and the touch interface makes it easy to access learning tools.  With a laptop, you would need to open it, turn it on, wait for it to load, login, and so on and so forth.  Further, the iPad has extremely easy access to the camera, video and voice recorder which can be used creatively across numerous apps.  Laptops have built-in cameras and microphones but are much more difficult to use.  Lastly, and in my opinion, most importantly, the creative possibilities on an iPad are unparalleled.  There are endless possibilities across any curriculum that one can imagine.  Visual notes, editing pictures, creating animations, movies, iBooks, annotating maps and PDFs. The list can go on and on.

Yes, of course, it's not about the apps.  Yes, our goal is the pedagogy.  But, the ability to recreate, redefine, and re-imagine our curriculum to 21st century standards and beyond, are all reasons to look toward iPads in education. 



 

For more on this topic, see @thomasdaccord's article on edudemic.com: http://www.edudemic.com/5-critical-mistakes-schools-ipads-and-correct-them/



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