This article originally appeared on Mindshift/KQED.
“And it’s here, in these seemingly disjointed moments, that the expertise of the teacher is crucial to uniting the class’s learning. Teachers need to create the dynamic that transforms individual moments into a broader experience where the class benefits from the complete range of learning that has taken place.”
Today I participated in an EdTechTeacher webinar on how classes can benefit by using iPads to combine the digital and the physical. There is a temptation to go ALL digital when devices arrive in your classroom. In reality the power of the devices is that they can capture digital and real world content together. They can capture the process of learning as well as the product and give the teacher better insight into the learning process. This webinar discusses the possibilities as well as sharing many examples of projects and tools.
“If educational technology and 1:1 education are going to thrive, school leaders must be focused on constantly employing the best practices and tools in relation to the most pressing needs of their students. Managing and sustaining these programs means that the big choices don’t stop after a platform has been selected. Getting devices in the hands of students is just the beginning.”
I have listened to and been a part of many discussions or debates about the specific platform that schools should use for their 1:1 program. At some level most of these discussions end with people listing the benefits of their preferred choice. Spending too much time focused on choosing “the” device can narrow the focus on what the purpose of having the technology is in the first place.
While I can’t republish the Mind/Shift article here in its entirety, here is a link to the full article.
MacBook, Chromebook, iPads: Why Schools Should Think beyond Platform
I participated in this webinar yesterday on the topic of Creativity. it was great to chat with outstanding Aussie educator Paul Hamilton. My only regret is that I was not able to chat more with the amazing Kiwi educator Richard Wells. Both are innovators and blazing new trails for effective use of iPads in the classroom.
This topic of creativity has begun to consume more and more of my thinking. Though transitioning to a 1:1 classroom is what began the process, I see that while the devices are wonderful mediums for expressing creativity, the classroom procedures and policies that go along with them do just as much to encourage students to create.
Though the title refers to iPads this video would be no less helpful to those with other devices. The conversation trended to creativity in general and how to encourage and foster it.
1. Manage the Technology: In addition to learning and completing assignments students have an array or responsibilities simply in managing the device. The device needs to be charged, apps and programs need to be updated so that they continue to function correctly. At first students and perhaps parents may scoff at the idea that these tasks are part of learning. It can be hard to keep them accountable for them, but just as important as it is to have paper, a pen, a PE uniform or safety goggles, having a functioning device is key to being “ready to learn.”
2. Make Learning Choices: The volume of data being evaluated and sifted through and the freedom for students to construct ideas with their own information make 1:1 powerful. One roadblock to this is the “Tell Me What To Do?” mindset that many students have. This is not something reserved to struggling or resistant students. Many of the best and the brightest students are not used to having choices and being held accountable for making them. At first many students will get stuck when they get to a fork in the road. Teachers need to help students get past the fear of deciding. Making clear goals for lessons and having a set of class values to guide those decisions will help. For choosing sources my classes have developed a series standards for what is best. Is the source reputable? Do you know who the author is? Can we identify potential biases in the writing? Does the source list its sources so that we can evaluate them? The same types of procedures are necessary for choosing the format for their products as well. How does the platform enhance or support the ideas that you are trying to convey? With help and time, students learning to not only embrace, but be excited by the choices and possibilities. They are more comfortable with bigger decisions about how they will learn.
3. Problem Solve Together: There is a big difference between working together and problem solving together. My 1:1 classroom has taking problem solving to a completely different level. Often we invent assignments together as a class. As a result the students have to create a plan for completing them. It is common to have a problem that leads to debates and sometimes even disagreements. Working through these common roadblocks is a ubiquitous part of my classes today. More and more I am able to stand back and let them work it out.
4. Protect Their Data: There are few things worse than watching a student who has worked hard lose all of that work, effort and time due to a technology glitch. Several students this year lost 12 weeks of work, all of which could have been saved with a few simple steps. Blaming the device is often a natural reaction. The reality is that we have to assume that the technology will fail us and take steps to protect our data. If the work that we are doing is valid, authentic and important it is going to hurt, and hurt badly to lose it. Tools like Dropbox, Evernote and Drive make protecting work easy. Other apps and programs take a bit more time and effort. That time and effort is time well spent.
5. Teach the Teacher: Independent student work means that I am often listening to students explain how they came to a conclusion, solved a problem or worked through a technology issue. Listening is a bigger part of the 1:1 teachers day than it used to be. It can take a while before students see the value in these explanations. Many students still see school simplistically: Get assignment, complete assignment, turn in assignment. Eventually classes begin to enjoy hearing how people did their work. this is especially true when we are sharing projects. Selfishly this change makes class more exciting for me too. I constantly learn new tricks and tips to share in the future. Here is an example of a Venn diagram assignment that became a lesson for me on stop animation. I’ve been excited to try it ever since it was turned in.
This, the 3rd webinar of the last month focuses on the broader concept of what 1:1 learning can produce. It goes on to discuss the effects of transitioning to 1:1 and finishes with a discussion of the future of 1:1 learning.
The 4th in the EdTechTeacher series of webinars in celebration of Connected Educator Month (#CE13). These installment discusses the 1:1 connected classroom. It was great to work with Don and Carl who each have a great understanding of both the costs and rewards of going 1:1.
This week I was honored to be a Featured Speaker at The EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA in Atlanta. I presented a session called “Navigating the 1st Year in a 1:1 Classroom”. I have had many requests for my presentation so I will make it available here. My goal was to help teachers to envision their ideal 1:1 classroom and help them to make it a reality. Please let me know if there is any further information I can provide you. You can find more of the presentations from EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA here.
1. If you want to be successful you have to accept and share your failures. You simply will not get it right the first time. If you can’t admit errors and talk about them with others you might never put all of the pieces together correctly. The idea that “failure is mandatory for success” is more than an idea. It should be referred to as the “First Law of Innovation”.
2. While I came to the iPad summit I expected my focus to be on lessons and products. While I had many discussions on this topic, what was on my mind most was the idea that a room where collaboration and higher level thinking takes place, should look like a room where collaboration and higher level thinking takes place even when there are no students using it. As my friend Greg Kulowiec said so precisely “the sight of students using devices to demonstrate their own learning and creativity while seated in orderly rows that all point to the spot where the teacher stands doesn’t make much sense.” I drew up a new arrangement and it was good. Then I threw it away. I’m going to have my students discuss it, debate it and create it. Thanks to Don Orth for eloquently framing this idea in his presentation. (Link)
3. There is no single answer to what is the best when it comes to devices in the classroom. Schools are going to have to find the program that best suits them. Regardless of what they decide, schools need to identify what needs they are trying to meet, what goals they are trying to achieve and then build a program around that. Pirating another schools program will not deliver the results that you think it will.
4. Those who use technology are aware that the technology is ever changing. Tomorrow will be different, the apps you use will change. Technology programs will have to be nimble enough to transfer their goals and objectives to the next device. Staying apprised of what is coming is hard work. The future belongs to those who build networks that can share in the work and adapt quickly. Be Nimble!!!
5. I never heard even a single person at the iPad summit say the words “I don’t have the time” or “it’s not my job to…” I listened to everyone sharing what they wanted to do and what they had to learn. Yet they all had taken the time to share with each other. When they set off at the end of the conference (the very end, the final session was packed with people) you could tell that they were going to bring it all back to their schools. I wish them all the best of luck as they share with their staff back home.
Anyone who is involved in education know that there is an increasing emphasis on accountability and data. More and more evaluation documents require both teachers and schools to show definitively and tangibly that the students have met learning goals.Yet for the classroom teacher this isn’t anything new. What teacher isn’t taking steps to find and address areas of need in their classroom? In the past this has taken the form of polling the class, exit slips and pop quizzes. Typically the teacher collects these after class and then compiles the data for each class. When everything works out as planned the teacher returns the next day with an idea of what needs to be clarified and who needs remediation. The downside is sifting that information and finding meaning in it often takes a long time, sometimes more than just one day and might get pushed back a day or two. By the time the information is sorted the class may have moved on and clarifying and remediating means stopping the flow of the current lesson to reach back. That is, if the information was accurate. One of the most frustrating parts of this process is getting smiles and nodding heads when we ask the class if they understand, only to find out later that their understanding was shaky at best.
This year I started using Socrative
, a free assessment Ap for mobile devices, in this role.Using the Teacher Ap. a teacher registers and creates a “Room”. Students need only open the Student Ap and enter the room number provided by the teacher.
The teacher has the option of controlling the pace of the quiz or allowing students to work at their own pace.
Regardless of which method the teacher chooses they can monitor the progress of each student as they complete the quiz. The teacher portal will show you what question each student is on and how many questions they answered correctly and incorrectly.
I have used this to check on students who might be struggling with the format or wording of questions and to check in on students who seem to be working slower than usual. For objective questions, students receive immediate feedback on their answers. It is also possible to add short answer questions to the quiz in order to look for deeper understanding.
When the students have completed the assessment the teacher has the option of either emailing of downloading the results.
The results are generated in the form of a spreadsheet. This makes it simple to aggregate the data over time, both with pre and post tests in each unit and in tracking learning objectives over the course of the year. The results are also color coded with correct answers appearing in red and correct answers appearing in green. This was fantastic in class for processing results quickly and modifying lessons accordingly.
Within seconds of finishing the quiz in class :
- The students have received feedback about their performance
- I have a color coded chart of how the class did collectively allowing me to take corrective action on the spot.
- I have that information organized in a report that can use to show the progress of each individual and the class collectively.
Socrative saves me time, gives students immediate feedback, helps me to make better, more informed decisions and, is helping me easily gather the data that the job demands.
Cross posted on http://www.socrative.com/garden/?p=901